oodaye all, sorry for the day late entry, but last week did two Dubbo/Brissie runs with the intent of getting to the truckshow. On the way down after the first had a semi-plan, but it crashed and ended up with another that seemed ok and was till I went to load Friday. Nearly 6 hours to load empty things for Sydney, sat at the gate for two hours, then in the bay for another couple, heard later they were three forkies down on the morning shift, though the bloke I spoke to as he left, said plenty of forkies, not enough forklifts, so who knows? Then the load was not picked, was not due till the following week and had stuff in front. All worthy causes of a delay, but that long?
But I got loaded, back to the yard to drop the trailers and off to the show which had now closed two hours before, so other than check out the trucks outside, no truckshow today. Two other NRFA board members had arranged lodgings at East Brisbane for the three of us for the event and I parked up there, changed clothes and into a cab for an NRFA get together and dinner for those who had been at the show.
In Saturday morning and walked and talked all day. All those I spoke to from a wide range of fields all said the show had drawn huge crowds Thursday and Friday, more public and kids etc Saturday, but still busy right through till near close Saturday and Sunday. The organisers should be both happy and satisfied with the outcome. There were many stands and the only thing I did not find displayed was load restraint and that was something I was chasing, but will follow up directly elsewhere.
The two other specific items/products I wanted to chase weren’t there, so I will have to follow them up with suppliers, but spoke with many who have supported the TIV and it is really the one time many of them are in the one place to meet and greet, say thanks and or be able to chat with.
There was a stand out rig, but for the most part other than the obvious electric and hydrogen trucks being technologically outstanding in their own way, the only other real showpaint truck was a Volvo in different colours as it was to run on biofuel. Benz had many “SOLD” signs on trucks by Friday, the new 660 horsepower DAF looked good and I do wonder why it was not out in the K220, which by the way, won the Australian Truck of the Year from a field of four.
Whilst checking out the new IVECO, I asked the man on the stand about the tyres, it was on 315/80 on the drive on 9inch rims and he said I was the only person to notice or comment to them. Seems thee first couple were rushed out here for the show and still had the normal Euro spec tyres and rims.
From one of the smallest things, GME have a new push to talk button coming out for their UHF radios which I hope to trial soon, discussions on tyres, sizes, pressures and CTI fittings, suspensions for the new trailers, some stickers from supporters to go on the truck wings, upgrades to do and a few more little things to fit, I tried to catch up with most I have dealt with and then some new ones too.
Some Blue Boys, silicone covers for the airline fittings that look to vastly extend the life of the fittings, to grabbing Kenworth kids toolbag (and then finding a kid and Dad to give the plastic tools to) as the bag is the right size for so many other jobs and storage things, it was too good to miss.
NRFA had a joint drinks evening Saturday, where TBI Insurance and On the Road Radio had arranged it and invited us to participate and they then announced the return of “Truckin’ Life” magazine in the next few months. This follows on the return of “Kenworth Downunder” magazine in which I have a story about the TIV idea amongst other terrific Kenworth customer stories and it is available from Amazon direct and has no adds, just top trucks and stories.
I had a long discussion with one of the NHVR gents outside the show before I left Sunday evening to head to Sydney and have asked him to pursue some things and have just spoken with him again now to add another to the list, something I asked of RMS, but now NHVR have control of those sites in NSW, worth another try. We will see.
We had a very serious discussion about compliance, speeds and where the industry is going, during the show with some, then also amongst NRFA members at the drinks and as I was walking down one of the aisles, heard a lady say to another, “Yes he is over it, it is all getting too hard and he is looking to sell up and get out” so there goes another operator who has done it and got to the point of simply can’t take it anymore.
I had a gent ring me for a chat if I had time while there and again, he is a relative newcomer and small player in the scheme of things, is keen and involved with industry stuff, but the issues of bullshit fines and whether they actually improve road safety, the justice or lack of it when you try to fight them, the lack of drivers and or the increasing number of those who have a license as opposed to real skill and knowledge, the rising costs, not just the direct ones but the damage from the roads they want us to pay more for when they are doing more damage to trucks and drivers now than ever, the lack and quality of on road facilities etc, all make it too hard for many.
In the past, if you needed a loo or a coffee to get you through the night, the roadhouses where there. Yes the kitchens have nearly all gone, but with all the new ones having the toilets inside and many of them now closing early, we are going backwards. Would you let your wife go out and drive on the highways when there are not enough facilities for blokes and yes, we can and have made do for many years, but if we want women to drive trucks long distance, there is little chance of it with the facilities we have now!
Amongst many true and telling remarks, one fellow who we thought should try stand up comedy, said he was uncomfortable with the current level of industry risk. This in itself means little to those outside the industry, we are all just whinging truckies aren’t we? This level of risk varies of course. But for those who try and do the right thing to have it come back and bite them hard, then to those who do mostly the right thing and hope nothing goes wrong, to those who are simply in the wrong time and or place and have some idiot run into them and not only does the shit hit the fan, it explodes and takes away their lives efforts.
Then there are those who simply should not be driving or running trucks. No matter what I do, the associations do, the NHVR does, whilst ever we are treated like criminals and guilty until proven innocent as opposed to the rest of the community, that risk is real and if you don’t even know it exists, or you do nothing to try and prevent it, God help you when it goes wrong and I doubt even he could fix it. If you have nothing in pace to show you try, then you may as well have nothing. Yet you can do all that and still be treated badly.
This is not defeatist, it is genuine and of course, does follow from listening to the compliance podcast on “Copy Southbound” which I do recommend you all listen to. Big Brother is not only watching, he is coming and you don’t need a crystal ball to know that following yet another tragic crash involving a truck, that no one will even recognise the countless lives we save everyday, but will be out for our blood again.
I don’t want to be negative, otherwise why would I spend over 30 years trying to be positive, but there is so much to do, fix and improve and so few doing it. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.