The Brisbane Truck Show has many good reasons for existing, and with 56 years under its belt, it is clear that the trucking industry agrees.
So when you make a claim that this year’s show is like no other before it, you have to be pretty assured that you aren’t just getting caught up in the pre-show hype.
But this year’s show is like no other before it. It really is.
While the experience walking in the door will feel comfortably familiar, and the layout isn’t doing anything unexpected, there is something drastically different.
I’m not talking about where you’ll get your coffee, burger or beer. That will all live up to your expectations too.
Chances are that you’ll run into an old mate or three, as you take two hours just to make your way down an aisle of the show; that is also something that we’ve all laughed about together many times before.
What is fundamentally different, to any previous show, is the arrival of a whole new breed of vehicle that will – in time – inevitably change the way you go about almost every aspect of your business.
For those lucky enough to have made the pilgrimage to Hannover for the IAA Transportation event last September, the experience was equally overwhelming, probably incrementally more so.
That is because Europe had already shown a much greater commitment towards de-carbonising their transport fleet, both heavy and light.
Their heavy vehicle industry had been making obvious progress, laying out plans for low- and zero-emissions vehicles, but until the Hannover show the vast majority of it had just been announcements, concept vehicles and testing programs.
Then the show itself became a statement. Virtually every exhibitor had something to say about how they are ready to partner with you to help you make the transition.
We had expected that they would have taken a fairly sophisticated approach to addressing the total cost of ownership conundrum. Without that being resolved, how do you make a business case to make this sort of commitment?
The Europeans had gone much further than that. They had suppliers able to talk through every aspect of the transition from an operational perspective.
It is one thing to say you want to do it. It is another to implement the changes to infrastructure, systems, maintenance and support, rostering, vehicle use, scheduling, and so much more.
The Australian landscape is unashamedly different; it is very unlikely that any of the largest vehicle manufacturers, showcasing their wares in Brisbane, will not display diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) powered trucks as part of their offering.
But even for the ICE vehicle’s most ardent supporters, and the electric vehicle’s most strident critics and sceptics, the arrival of these vehicles on the scale that will be present in Brisbane makes it hard to avoid indulging in a little bit of “what if” thinking.
There is no illusion that this will take longer for some sectors than for others. But the commitment from all corners of our industry towards this shift now has an unstoppable momentum.
It is no longer what if. It is when.
This is your invitation to witness the biggest revolution in road freight transport since… well, what? The road train or the B-double?
That would be a reasonable argument to make, but still not as big a shift at its core.
It is your chance to watch the future unfold. Because by the time we get to the next show in two years’ time, this is all just going to be business as usual.