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Eight top road freight issues for NSW ahead of new Covid surge

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Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) executives were invited to submit feedback to federal agencies earlier this week ahead of an expected surge of Covid cases in August.

Those issues articulated by RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara and chairman Austin Vella were summarised in the below eight points.

1. Fuel tax credit and the looming tax problems for small operators as a result of a cut to excise but not credits. Many small operators are struggling with high fuel costs and now likely higher tax bills as a result of the cut to excise. It was articulated that the pat on the back for freight’s work done though Covid has become the stab in the back with the excise cut and fuel tax credits.

2. By September, fuel prices will be heading to $3.00 a litre in NSW and this will make its way through the supply chain and cause many small operators to struggle.

3. NSW Floods have caused access problems and have added up to 30 per cent to costs over the intervening weeks.

4. What happens when our domestic producer of AdBlue, Incitec Pivot, departs at the end of the year? In a changing world, 100 per cent reliance on imported products for AdBlue may prove problematic. We do not want a repeat of last year’s shortages.

5. The cost of AdBlue remains higher than it should be for a product that is made up of over 70 per cent water.

6. Equipment shortages remain an issue with many new trucks if ordered today not arriving until 2024/2025. Some components and replacements are very difficult to source with world-wide shortages.

7. Labour shortages as a result of Covid and skill shortages remain an issue for many business owners. One participant cited 20 per cent sick rate on Tuesday of this week.

8. The supply chain is under pressure as a result of the ongoing weather, Covid and lasting pandemic effects.

In a bulletin to its members, RFNSW also added that a clear recommendation was made from the federal government that, although masks were not mandated, they were highly recommended.

“The expectation is that this new Covid strain will be as bad as January for Covid infection and absences from work,” said O’Hara.

“Modelling has been requested to assist in informing business of what to expect in coming months from this Covid wave.”

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