Opinion

Review and reform the effectiveness of our supply chains: new year wish list

adblue questions

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest issues facing the freight industry in 2022 is the ongoing risk to our vital supply chains.

As we know, Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) members were on the frontline throughout the Covid-lockdowns, ensuring the delivery of critical products, such as medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE), food and groceries across the community.

But escalating trade tensions with China, container shortages, the high-demand for pallets and increasing shipping and port charges, have led to a ‘perfect storm’ of long-delays for both imports and exports and a blow-out in day-to-day costs for hard-working transport operators.

Post Covid, the ongoing shortages of AdBlue have not only threatened to park Australia’s diesel truck fleet, but very quickly exposed how our country’s supply chains can be crunched – as a result of external forces beyond our control.

In the case of AdBlue, it’s been China’s ban on their global exports of urea, a key ingredient for the anti-pollutant.

That’s why as part of the nation’s post-Covid recovery, RFNSW is urging a whole-of-government campaign to review and reform the effectiveness of our supply chains, boosting  local manufacturing and workforce skills capability to ensure supply chain resilience and protecting our national freight networks.

Freight and supply chain strategies should also provide trucking operators with fair and competitive costs across the supply chain, given that unfair landside port charges continue to compromise the viability of many trucking operations.

Australia’s closed borders and the impact on immigration have also exacerbated the shortage of skilled workers across the country’s transport and logistics sector – yet another significant risk to the stability of our supply chains.

There’s a need for governments at all levels to work with industry on more training and skills programs, so we can build workforce capacity and capability, now and into the future.

As the voice of NSW truckies, RFNSW is calling for our government decision-makers to listen and act on our concerns, so we can keep freight moving in 2022.

Simon O’Hara is the CEO of Road Freight New South Wales.

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