Challenges for Tasmania’s transport industry highlighted

The Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) has released two reports, each identifying key challenges for the state’s transport and logistics industry into the future.

The release of the reports was timed to coincide with National Road Safety Week.

According to the TTA, one report outlines how industry would struggle to attract, recruit, develop and retain the workforce needed to meet both current freight demands and a predicted increase over the next three to five years.

In the second report, the organisation describes how the sector is facing challenges when it comes to getting buy-in from supply chain parties for managing risks such as speed, fatigue, vehicle standards and loading.

TTA Executive Director, Michelle Harwood, said it was crucial that all stakeholders became involved in addressing the challenges facing the industry.

“Transport is the backbone of the Tasmanian economy, facilitating growth in key sectors of construction, agriculture, aquaculture and exports,” said Harwood.

“An efficient freight network within Tasmania and connections with interstate ports and freight hubs are critical to the continued economic prosperity of Tasmanian businesses and the living standards of all Tasmanians.”

Harwood said the industry lacked a strong engagement with the education and training sector which compounded issues around attracting and retaining drivers.

“Industry does the heavy lifting in terms of workforce development, with little support,” she said – adding that barriers to recruitment included age restrictions for heavy vehicle licences, a perception that the industry is not a desirable career path option and the lack of diversity.

“Transport and logistics is an industry of opportunity, with good rewards and conditions across a range of occupations,” she said.

“However, a heavy vehicle driver’s licence does not fully prepare a person to enter the industry.

“It does not include the other skills needed to be job ready such as an understanding of relevant regulations, load restraint, fatigue management, customer service skills and safe manual handling.”

Harwood said the TTA was looking to partner with the education and training sector and was already working with the University of Tasmania on programs to support emerging leaders in the industry.

Meanwhile, referring to the second report, Harwood said all parties in the transport chain had a responsibility to manage risk where practicable and to be aware of pressures placed on transport operators and drivers.
“The prevailing view of external parties is that all aspects relating to transport are the domain of the transport business and that this is effectively ‘not their problem’,” she said.

“This is not the case. Chain of Responsibility means that duties and responsibilities to manage safety risks cannot be subcontracted out.”

Harwood said while working towards a shared responsibility was complex, it was vital for all parties to be on the same page.
“There are significant benefits for transport operators to clarify and document their transport activities, develop business systems that actually fit their business and communicate safety requirements with external parties,” she said.

The Tasmanian Transport and Logistics Workforce Plan 2020-2023 can be found here.

Safe Systems: Chain of Responsibility in Tasmanian Transport Chains is available here.