NRC calling for clearer communication
Posted: 21-Oct-2021 |

The National Road Carriers Association says the combination of driver shortages and likely Covid-19 vaccination requirements could further increase pressure on the industry.

The NRC has repeated its call for clearer communication from government about plans for moving out of higher Covid-19 alert levels.

“We listened to Monday afternoon’s announcement and now we’re waiting for the plan on Friday,” says NRC chief operating officer James Smith.

``Hopefully there is nothing that takes New Zealand by surprise and suddenly has to be implemented by next Wednesday.”

Smith says the transport industry has been kept busy working through the raised alert levels of the past nine weeks.

“The transport industry is relatively fortunate in that most freight is still flowing,” Smith says.

“As an example of New Zealand business, freight has not been disrupted the same as some, such as hospitality, manufacturing and retail.

“But as our members deal with all these sectors of business, we know there are a lot of people close to the edge and there’s a lot of genuine hardship out there.”

Smith says a clear plan to open the Auckland and Waikato borders is urgent. And going forward there is also the question of a firm set of guidelines for the vaccination requirements of truck drivers.

“It’s a question that has been occupying our thoughts. We expect there will be a high vaccination rate among drivers but how do we deal with the unvaccinated driver and what are they going to be able to do?

“Not every truck driver will be vaccinated so what will that mean?

“We are expecting a lot of businesses will require vaccination to gain access to their premises - for the protection of their staff. That’s understandable.

“But, even if it’s only a small percentage of drivers who are unvaccinated and possibly face some restrictions on where they can travel, that will have an immediate effect on an industry that is already feeling the pressures of a tight labour market.

``It’s almost November and we’re on the downhill slide to Santa and that will put more pressure onto a supply chain that is already under stress.”

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