It was pretty startling to see the figures released by SEEK recently that showed jobs ads in Australia at their highest levels in 23 years, having risen a massive 63 per cent when compared to the previous year. 

For people who work in transport/freight, retail and hospitality, the numbers are no surprise. These industries have been struggling to attract workers since Australia’s borders (mostly) closed to overseas arrivals in 2020. As a freight agency, we have noticed the pressure transport companies of all sizes are under due to increased demand and a lack of drivers, logistics and warehouse staff. 

Here’s a look at what has caused the shortage of drivers and delivery workers in particular. 

 

What’s driving labour shortages?

Many jobs in Australia are filled by temporary residents and students. However, the COVID outbreak not only prevented them from coming into the country, it left many who were here without subsidies or assistance when their jobs fell through. Unfortunately, those who weren’t able to find jobs quickly enough had to return home, which has only served to widen the gap. Now that hospitality is coming back to life, the workers aren’t there to reclaim their jobs. This has led to a flow-on effect for other industries. 

For the freight industry, the teams on the ground have experienced unprecedented pressure. 

Being overloaded with work means many have quit to pursue other opportunities. As reported by The Age, “Victoria’s peak trucking association estimates about 10,000 truck drivers – including more than 2000 who cross state borders – have exited the industry since the outbreak of COVID-19.” These drivers have apparently become frustrated by rapidly changing rules, forced COVID tests and ongoing border closures. 

It’s easy to see how the supply chain has been slowed down by this issue and why it has caused long waits for packages and parcels to be delivered. 

 

The struggle continues

While everyone has been doing their best, it’s easy to understand that fatigue has set in. Employers are experiencing people calling in sick or failing to meet expectations. With the ball in workers’ court right now, it is difficult to discipline staff or let them go. 

At this point in time, we have noticed that the freight providers that make positive worker relations a priority are the ones that are more in control of their workflows and customer relations. They genuinely value their workers and aren’t afraid to offer incentives and rewards, which means there is more loyalty across their workforce. 

From our perspective as a freight agency, clear communication, patience and plenty of planning ahead goes a long way to ease stress for everybody. 

 

Where is the turning point?

Now that Australia’s borders are starting to reopen to students and overseas workers, there will be the opportunity to fill staffing gaps. In addition, higher vaccine rates will see people returning to stores in person rather than shopping online. While this won’t make a difference at all levels, it should result in slightly less demand for delivery drivers. 

Right now, there is pressure on the government from the most impacted industries to ramp up advertising and incentives for new migrants, similar to the campaigns that were launched after WWII. At the same time, employers are also seeking ways to make themselves as attractive as possible to people who are thinking about relocating to Australia. 

As reported by the BBC, some companies are offering to pay for flights and VISAs in order to attract new employees and even going so far as to offer food vouchers and pay for the first two weeks of rental costs when they arrive.  

At EFS, we are endlessly impressed with the service levels that our freight provider partners have been able to maintain over the last two years. It’s our goal to work with them closely to ensure the labour shortages have as little impact on our shared customers as possible. 

Want to know more about the best freight services for your business in the current climate? Contact EFS to work with a reliable freight agency. 

Do you have a domestic freight strategy for your Australian business? 

There is a range of options, which we shared in one of our recent articles. However, many business owners stick to road freight, without considering domestic air freight. 

Take a look at some of the reasons why choosing air as your domestic freight service may make sense. 

 

Fast delivery

These days, many customers expect the goods they order to be delivered within a matter of days, rather than weeks. 

If you are sending a high volume of goods, it can make sense to use planes for your domestic freight so you can get things where they need to go sooner.

Where trucks and trains may take days, sending goods via air can have them at their destination within hours. 

 

Plenty of destination options

If you’re in a capital city, you should have plenty of options for domestic freight services by air. 

QANTAS, as just one example, utilises the standard passenger flight schedule for freight. If the town you’re sending goods to has an airport, or if there is one nearby it’s likely you can send your goods via domestic air freight services. QANTAS also has road transport partners who will help your packages to reach their final destination. 

 

Flights are back in the air

After many months of closures, people are travelling again. This gives you more options for domestic freight shipping by air in Australia. You can investigate this method of shipping instead of sticking to road delivery. 

 

Increased security

Goods that travel by road have greater potential to be intercepted than items that are moved by air. In some cases, shipping via air may help to reduce the cost of insurance. 

 

Send large, fragile or emergency packages

Air freight can be ideal for smaller items, medical goods, refrigerated items or valuables. 

Major carriers train their teams to handle delicate items so you can have peace of mind about the domestic freight service you have chosen. 

 

Drawbacks of air freight

Of course, the cost of sending goods by air can be prohibitive, as it is more expensive than other forms of transport. 

There is a risk of goods being damaged but this is the case no matter what method of domestic freight shipping you use in Australia. 

Finally, your items may not be suitable for sending via air. Flammable materials, batteries and gasses may have to use an alternate method. 

 

How to send goods by air in Australia

Considering air transport as an option for domestic freight in Australia? You can obtain a domestic freight quote online but you may find it’s difficult to know exactly what you’ll get in return for your money and whether your quote provides good value for money. 

A better option may be to work with people that understand the ins and outs of domestic freight services in Australia and who can let you know whether your quote for shipping and the options presented to you make sense for your business. 

Want to know more about air freight and other domestic freight options in Australia? Contact EFS

Whether you are a wholesaler or a retailer, it’s likely that delivered goods now make up a significant portion of your services. 

For those who are new to shipping products across the country or who have recently had a surge in demand, it can be difficult to determine which interstate freight services in Australia are best. 

Take a look at a breakdown of the different choices available: 

Road freight

Road freight, of course, takes your goods by road to their destination.  

Items can travel by car, van, truck or ‘road train’, depending on how much you have to send, how heavy your goods are and how far they have to go. 

The cost and speed of delivery will also depend on your requirements. Consumers who make a direct purchase from you will expect door-to-door delivery within a few days or even overnight. In this instance, you’ll need the services of an agile provider who can meet this need. 

For larger deliveries, you may be able to save money by filling a portion of a truck and sharing the cost of a full load with other businesses. Get help finding different interstate freight quotes before you commit to a particular provider. 

 

Rail freight

For interstate freight, heavier loads can be sent interstate by rail, however you are likely to still require road freight services to get items to their departure and arrival points. It can be a good idea to work with a provider who combines rail and road services. 

Sending large items or interstate pallet freight by rail may take longer than truck or air but can be more cost-effective. Rail transport solutions are available for a number of regional areas, not just capital cities so it’s worth checking if you can send your goods by rail.  

 

Air freight

A great deal of commercial air cargo travels in passenger flight planes, meaning it can be a fast way to deliver goods. 

Same day delivery is more than possible via air but it can be a more expensive option. There are also specialist providers who can move heavy, valuable or bulky goods by air.

 

Choosing a service provider

Between air, road and rail, there are a range of interstate freight service providers in Australia who can help with your shipping requirements. A few factors to consider include: 

    • Price; be sure to check out a few different interstate freight quotes
    • Speed of pick up and delivery
    • How easy the company is to deal with
    • The use of technology for booking and communication
    • Insurance for lost items and breakages
    • Who will take care of logistics 
    • Customer convenience
  • Who will be responsible for receiving the item (both B2B and B2C)

No matter what option you choose, your service should include tracking and delivery confirmation so you can rest assured that your goods won’t end up in the wrong hands.

From satchels to full truck-loads, EFS can help you to choose the right shipping method and provider. Take a look at our interstate freight services or contact us to find out more.