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Is overnight delivery a thing of the past?

Yes and no. 

Prior to the pandemic, it was common to order goods and receive them the next day or even the same day. Then COVID hit and wait times blew out. If you had Christmas gifts on order last December and November, you’ll remember parcels taking weeks rather than days to arrive. 

Where an express parcel was almost certain to arrive within 24 hours, next-business-day delivery is now less of a sure thing. Regular post and commercial deliveries often require a couple of extra sleeps as well. 

In some cases, rapid turnaround on parcel delivery is still possible, but you will probably pay a premium for it. 

If you’re B2C, even if you have previously offered free shipping, the people who need goods urgently may have to start paying a premium for the convenience. If you communicate this clearly, you shouldn’t receive much resistance. 

Otherwise, it’s all about managing expectations and making sure people have a clear idea of when their delivery will show up. 

In these times of changing benchmarks, this is something we encourage our clients to make a habit of. Keep in touch, let people know what’s going on and they will be more likely to stay loyal to your brand. 

We are used to checking in and out of venues with QR codes now but have you thought about how this tool can help your business? 

The technology has been around for a long time but truth be told, many of us ignored it until the pandemic. Now, brands are realising how helpful these odd-looking graphics can be. 

A few ways to use QR codes include: 

👉 To identify parcel contents

👉 To share information about how to recycle the packaging

👉 To share information with customers about your company

👉 To share an opt-in or special offer, which you can use to improve customer loyalty

👉 To share a link so the customer can share feedback about the ordering and delivery experience

 

This handy tool can be used in so many ways to make life easier for the parcel delivery team and encourage better engagement with your clients. 

Not sure how to create a code? Google ‘QR code Generator’ and a range of options will come up. 

Let’s talk quickly about supply chain issues and workarounds. 

If you’re not aware, COVID put a spanner in the cogs of what was previously a reasonably well-oiled supply chain machine. 

The initial outbreak of this world-changing virus in China saw setbacks in manufacturing and delivery times. 

When the pandemic hit the rest of the world, excess funds went towards online shopping rather than dining out and travelling. This slowed things down even further. 

Worker slowdowns and absences added to processing times at shipyards, while the pressure on delivery drivers blew timelines out further. 

And just when the effects of the pandemic began to subside in the Western world, China experienced a new round of lockdowns in 2022. 

This is not even factoring turmoil in Eastern Europe into the equation. 

So things are unbalanced… but what do we do about it? 

Being realistic about timeframes and expectations is the first step. 

Next, it’s about transitioning away from a ‘just-in-time inventory’ mentality to a more forward-thinking approach. For some businesses, this means ordering in bulk and investing in storage, rather than expecting to be able to get what they want from China with only a few weeks’ lead time. 

If you make purchases in lower quantities, it may also be worth partnering with other businesses. This will allow you to fill shipping crates/trucks and get better value for money. 

There’s no simple solution but creative thinking and innovative problem solving will help while we wait for this situation to play itself out. 

Don’t forget that we can connect you with the providers who have the best availability, communication and turnaround times within Australia. 

Did you know that around 1.4 per cent of Australians are truck drivers?

One hundred and eighty thousand Aussies keep goods moving around the country every day. It’s
also interesting to note that truck driving is the most common occupation for men in Australia.
That’s a lot of husbands, sons and fathers… and of course there are mums and daughters as well
(figures show that around three per cent of truck drivers are women).

Unfortunately, every year a number of drivers fail to get home safely. Recent statistics share that 50
truck drivers lost their lives on Australian roads in 2021.

We have written in the past about the pressures around the industry and the shortage of workers.
This week we want to help our clients understand the safety regulations around the freight solutions
they rely on.

Rules for truck drivers in Australia.

There are many safety standards truck drivers in Australia must comply with. These are designed to
protect both the driver and other road users, and ensure everyone enjoys a safe journey.

Some of the general safety standards that go hand in hand with freight solutions providers include:

– Ensuring the vehicle is always in good condition and regularly serviced

– Adhering to speed limits

– Keeping a proper lookout for other vehicles and pedestrians

– Wearing seat belts at all times

– Not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

There are also rules around how many hours a driver can spend on the road at a time before having
a break.

Right now, drivers can only spend 12 out of every 24 hours behind the wheel and they must have at
least seven consecutive hours of rest. In addition to this, a minimum 15-minute break must be taken
after every 5.5 hours of driving.

These rules are in place in order to minimise fatigue and reduce the potential for drivers to fall
asleep at the wheel and drive into others or off the road. Some drivers have exemptions if they are
able to present a ‘safety case’ that confirms they can operate outside of these rules.

Technology such as Electronic Work Diaries exist to help drivers manage fatigue and stick within the
guidelines. These systems alert drivers to when a rest break is required and help them plan their
stops.

Other freight solution safety regulations

Safety doesn’t only apply to the number of hours spent on the road. Trucks carry very heavy loads
that must be packed and secured carefully.

For example, there are rules around the ways forklifts can be operated during the loading/unloading
process, and specific requirements about loading and unloading the back of a truck. Drivers must
complete training to ensure these rules are applied; which is why you can’t always pick up a willing
worker and put them behind a wheel at short notice.

Weight is a factor in freight solutions as well. Trucking companies risk being fined a maximum of
$55,000 if they are found to have overloaded a vehicle.

It is the truck driver and their employer’s responsibility to ensure the following and more:

  • Routes are carefully planned
  • Loading documentation is completed
  • The condition of the vehicle and cargo are checked throughout the trip
  • Road rules are followed
  • Safety requirements are followed during on and offloading
  • Delivery receipts are recorded
  • Trips are logged
  • Dispatchers are kept up to date
  • Safety incidents are logged

As you can see, a simple journey to deliver the goods that are found in our supermarkets and store
shelves requires a lot of activity behind the scenes. It’s not only about being on the road but
adhering to the rules of a heavily regulated industry; and these rules are put in place to keep
everyone safe.

When you’re seeking freight solutions, this is something to keep in mind. It’s why we recommend
businesses liaise with an experienced freight broker who understands the industry inside and out.

Need help choosing a reliable freight solutions provider? Contact EFS today.

After last year’s staff shortages and surplus of consumer demand, the Australian freight and logistics industry is still in catch-up mode. 

A fresh threat in 2022 is making life difficult for operators, with some warning that supply chain pressures are far from over and could even end up getting worse. 

The consequences of fuel price increases

During the pandemic, the world experienced a drop in fuel prices because demand dipped so drastically. Petrol production companies were forced to wind back operations. As a result, fuel production levels are relatively low… and costs have risen alarmingly. 

To add to this, AdBlue shortages impacting diesel-fuelled vehicles and unrest in Eastern Europe are contributing to higher fuel prices. 

In the absence of a fuel tax credit, transport operators of all sizes are crying out for support. 

As reported by Australiasian Transport News in June, many operators are spiralling into debt because of increasing fuel costs. Some are being forced into bankruptcy, especially as the ATO is now playing hardball on overdue tax debts and sending out penalty notices in the tens of thousands to company directors

There is also a misconception that the freight and logistics industry is being adequately supported by the government. 

ATN’s recent article shared that “On March 30, the old coalition federal government announced it would slash the 44 cents per litre fuel excise for all road vehicles to cope with the growing price of fuel and the exorbitant cost of living expenses. But while doing that they subtly took away the transport company’s fuel tax rebate credit (FTC) that provides a rebate of around 17.8 cents per litre that operators can claim back quarterly.” 

As a result, people are mistakenly believing fuel price pressures have eased for transport companies, when this isn’t the case. 

Are freight and logistics set to become more expensive? 

The fallout from the FTC rebate removal is increasingly unmanageable debts and fuel bills that have doubled in less than a year. While smaller operators are hit the hardest, even some larger freight and logistics companies are finding themselves in the position of having to sell and get out. 

Locally, operators are pressuring the ALP to reinstate the FTC by July 1st, which is when the next round of quarterly business activity statements are due. 

With this story currently developing, it’s a ‘wait and see’ situation when it comes to how the Federal Government will respond to warnings of skyrocketing costs from the freight industry, which will soon find itself with no choice but to raise prices to compensate for the lack of rebate. 

When will fuel prices stabilise? 

A steadying in fuel prices is difficult to predict because of changing global and economic conditions. If the tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue, it’s possible that the situation will worsen before it improves. 

So it is not something that can be counted on in the short term. 

If you’re a retailer, you may wish to lock in contracts with your freight and logistics providers now, so you can be protected from extreme price jumps. Otherwise, it’s a matter of maintaining strong connections within the industry so you still have providers to choose from in the event of the situation becoming more difficult. 

It pays to have great connections in the freight and logistics industry. Reach out to EFS today. 

Long-haul trucking is essential to deliver supplies to Australian consumers but the need for interstate freight comes with a risk to the people who work behind the wheel. 

Our country is vast and the demand for deliveries is incessant, which leads to long hours of driving and concerns about safety. Sadly, in 2021, 50 truck drivers lost their lives on Australian roads, which was close to double the previous year’s figures. 

Recently, the NSW Government has announced highway upgrades that will help ensure drivers make it to their destination. 

Improving safety on interstate freight routes

Recently, the New South Wales government announced it will introduce more than 2700 kilometres of ‘rumble strips’ on rural highways. The goal of this is to combat driver fatigue and benefit driver safety.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘rumble strips’, this is an initiative that adds ‘bumps’ to the surface of the road, which aim to alert inattentive drivers of potential danger. For example, if a truck driver falls asleep and begins to drift off the road, the rumble strips should cause enough of a bumping sensation for him/her to be jolted back into alertness. 

Rumble strips, (sometimes called Audio Tactile Line Marking (ATLM)) are usually placed at the edge or in the centre of the road, or in areas where drivers need to be highly vigilant. 

According to Transport for NSW, rumble strips are estimated to reduce the likelihood of vehicles departing their lane by up to 25%. When installed with ‘wide centreline’ road markings, rumble strips can reduce fatalities and injuries from head-on crashes by up to 65%.

The new strips will cover a distance that equates to a return journey between Sydney and Adelaide. 

Multi-million dollar upgrades

As shared by Australasian Transport News, “NSW regional transport and roads minister Sam Farraway says these new rumble strips would replace existing reflective markers on six state highways under a commitment to make regional roads safer.”

The NSW Government has committed $46 million over the next three years to install rumble strips and enhance line marking on key regional routes. This is part of a wider, $14.5 billion investment into regional roads. The project aims to improve everyday life for people who live and work in NSW. 

Several highly trafficked interstate freight routes are included in the upgrades. These are: 

  • The Cobb Highway (Hay to Moama)
  • Castlereagh Highway (Lithgow to Dunedoo)
  • Golden Highway (Singleton to Dubbo)
  • Kamilaroi Highway (Quirindi to Bourke)
  • Gwydir Highway (Grafton to Moore)
  • Oxley Highway (Wauchope to Coonabarabran)

The works fall under the government’s Safer Roads program, which is also seeing the installation of safety barriers, high-risk rural curve improvements and wide centrelines on roads across the state. 

While these are welcome safety improvements, they may cause trips on some country highways to be longer than usual. If you’re booking intra or interstate freight and know your goods will be travelling on the above-mentioned roads, reach out to us to find out about potential delays. 

EFS are the interstate freight experts. Contact us to find out more.