Why some Tassie fleet operators are experiencing a temporary downturn

fleet operators

Some small fleet operators in Tasmania have contacted Spy to advise that work since Easter has decreased dramatically.

One in particular said that his normal freight carrying numbers has dropped by around two thirds.

So Spy tried to pinpoint the reasons for the decline which hits the finances of these hard workers.

It seems that Tasmania has always had highs and lows in certain forms of transport.

Easter is the approximate time for a downturn and it is normally the end of the season in the poppy industry and pyrethrum and onion seasons.

The poppy industry has faced a cut back in a  large amount of acreage this past year as it was claimed there was a world glut of that variety of poppy.

Long-time operators claim there has always been a downturn in general freight transport for a period of about three months until July.

It seems that stores and warehouses buy up big with special deals from suppliers to get tax breaks at the end of a financial year.

Once the new financial year starts on July 1, stocks start to reduce so they start normal buying again.

If operators are involved in road repair and or road building, and some other earth works, winters tend to be slack as well.

Also take into account 11 interest rate hikes in 12 months and that has done nothing to boost business confidence either.

Potato season had a hit this year as well it has also suffered due to wet weather.

Spud growing is fickle and some growers have a good year then during the next one extra potatoes get planted creating a glut.

Feast or famine is a quote often used around potato growing; they grow too many and the factory wants to reduce the price paid, farmers back off and plant another product that causes a shortage the following year and farmers who grow spuds every year might get a measly rise only because of the shortage.

Anti Collusion Laws stop farmers getting together to decide who will and who will not grow this year. If they could, they would be able to get a reasonable average supply going year after year.

On the flip side, some small fleet owners have plenty of work and enjoy the quieter times when the hours drop off for a couple of months.

They still pay the bills and get what they describe as a mini-holiday while working, a recharging of their batteries of sorts.

Logging and mining has its ups and downs, partly because the anti-everything climate change brigade, formally known as Greens, are causing slow progress getting new mines and logging coupes up and running.

In conclusion, one owner-operator who is feeling the pinch said he is surviving during the bad times because he and others like him, provide a reliable service.

“We can provide a service that many of the bigger operators can’t,” he said.

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