AFIA honours industry’s finest


The Victorian Transport Association and members of the Australian freight and logistics industry honoured the winners of the 2020 Australian Freight Industry Awards during a 90-minute virtual awards presentation broadcast from The Pullman Hotel in Melbourne on Sunday, 29 November.

Venue capacity restrictions meant the annual event that typically sees upwards of 700 guests gathering for a black-tie extravaganza could not proceed in its usual form, so the VTA presented an online celebration that honoured seven individuals and organisations from a variety of categories.

The winners were:

  • Peter Smith, SCT Logistics, Personality of the Year Award – sponsored by CMV Truck & Bus;
  • Debra O’Donnell, Precise Pallet Management, Female Leadership Award – sponsored by Viva Energy Australia;
  • Annastasia Denigan, Cement Australia, Young Achiever of the Year Award – sponsored by Daimler;
  • Alex Fraser Group, Sustainable Environment Award – sponsored by National Transport Insurance;
  • JOST Australia, Application of Technology Award – sponsored by Transport Certification Australia;
  • Delta Group, Best Practice Safety Award – sponsored by Gallagher; and
  • Nationwide Group, Investment in People Award – sponsored by Logical Staffing Solutions.

Award winners were decided by a judging panel that assessed the entries against several criteria. The entries, as usual, were of a fantastic calibre and showcased the excellence and high standards our industry constantly strives to exceed in servicing their customers and the community.

I was pleased to gather with the representatives event sponsors TWUSUPER and Viva Energy Australia, and our category sponsors, to announce the finalists and winners, who accepted their award from the comfort of their own homes thanks to livestreaming technology that connected them to a studio set up at The Pullman to broadcast the production.

This year’s awards have occurred against the backdrop of unprecedented circumstances, with coronavirus forcing businesses and communities to make huge sacrifices and adjustments to adapt to this strange, new COVID Normal.

Presenting these awards in this virtual format is certainly something I never expected to experience, but our ability to do so is a testament to how our industry just gets on with things, and supports our customers, suppliers and each other.

I couldn’t be prouder of the way transport operators have rallied to keep Australia moving throughout the pandemic, ensuring households and communities have had ample supplies of food, medicine, fuel and other essential goods during the uncertainty of lockdowns.

On behalf of the Australian freight industry, the many members of the assessment panels and the VTA Executive Council, I’d like to congratulate our finalists and winners and thank the more than 40 individuals and organisations that took time to prepare entries.

In such tumultuous times, we never expected to receive a record number of nominations, and that we did is a credit to the passion our members have for these awards and recognising our industry’s many achievements and contributions.

And of course, a big thanks to our major event supporters TWUSUPER and VIVA Energy Australia for sponsoring tonight’s award presentation, which would not have been possible without their support.

Australian rock band Boom Crash Opera entertained during the virtual event.

The Australian Freight Industry Awards presentation are renowned for the phenomenal entertainment that has wowed guests for 31 years. A pandemic and gathering restrictions weren’t about to the stop the VTA from maintaining this tradition so event organisers arranged for the hit Australian rock band Boom Crash Opera to play their hits ‘The Best Thing’ and ‘Get Out of the House’ live from the studio. Past AFIA entertainer Daryl Braithwaite also featured in the line-up with a special recording of his new hit ‘Love Songs’ broadcast during the production.

Next year’s 32nd presentation of the awards will return to Melbourne’s Crown Palladium on 4 September 2021, where we look forward to delivering another AFIA extravaganza in person next year and the opportunity for our industry to get together in person to celebrate our remarkable achievements.

For those that missed it, the livestream of the AFIAs can be viewed here.

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