News & Media

Road Freight NSW - Freight is Essential - March 2020

Fri 27 Mar 2020

The Government and NSW Business Chamber yesterday confirmed that any freight should be defined as an essential service. 

This includes but is not limited to the obvious reasons of keeping the supermarket and chemist shelves stocked and stocking other essential services like manufacturers. Ports for the unloading and loading of containers need to keep operating and Road Freight NSW take the view that they should be defined as an essential service as well. As long as the Port follow the Australian Border Force directions and protocols, RFNSW believe that the loading and unloading of container and other exports can continue safely.


Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) is calling for greater understanding and patience from the customers of truckies, who are now working around-the-clock, under increasing pressure, to deliver essential food and grocery items during the COVID-19 crisis.

Chief Executive Simon O’Hara also urged companies to act in good faith and pay truckies’ invoices within terms, to avoid small transport operators going to the wall.

Mr O’Hara said some RFNSW members reported being owed over $100,000 in overdue payments. This was significantly impeding cash flow and putting further strain on the viability of their businesses, many of which are family-run operations, already struggling financially before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The freight industry is doing an exceptional job in very difficult circumstances, working day and night to get essential food and groceries on to supermarket shelves across NSW,” Mr O’Hara said.

“We understand that these are trying times for all of us, but RFNSW is reaching out to our members’ customers asking them to be mindful of the complexities of moving freight during the COVID-19 emergency response.

“Rest assured, trucking operators are doing the best they can to get this essential freight moving, but they’re still experiencing choke points across the supply chain, mainly at distribution centres (DC) and supermarkets and there is little they can do to alleviate those delays. Taking a letter and line approach with truckies, that might be understandable in normal circumstances, is really unhelpful and only adds to what is a stressful situation.

“On behalf of our members, RFNSW is asking that we’re all a little more patient and flexible. We ask that the community appreciates while increasing numbers of people are now working from home as part of new social-distancing measures, transport operators are still out on the roads, waiting in long queues of up to five-six hours. They’re working as hard as they can, while taking-on more unexpected debt and the risk of exposure, as a result of this crisis.”

RFNSW reiterated calls for freight and ports to be declared critical infrastructure, in order for essential trade to continue to flow through NSW ports and into the supply chain and avoiding a return to panic buying in the community.

Lay-up cover for Motor Vehicles as a result of the Corona Virus outbreak

Australia is currently going through an unprecedented period with respect to the Corona Virus and we wish all Road Freight NSW Members and their families the best of luck during these trying times.

AEI have been in discussions with the various heavy vehicle Insurers on behalf of the Road Freight NSW Members to establish what options would be available for any business that may need to lay-up trucks during this period.

All Insurers have confirmed that they are working on options to offer Lay-up cover to those clients that may need it, which is a pleasing sign.  Full details of how this will work should be available in the coming days and they will most likely differ between Insurers.

We would recommend that Members that need to take advantage of this offer from the Insurers, reach out to their Brokers and discuss their own individual circumstances and also be mindful of the conditions with respect to the level of cover while laid up and also ensuring that they advise the Insurer prior to the vehicles going back on the road.

Alternatively if there are any Members that need assistance with this, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at AEI. Please contact Noel Kelly on 0466 900 134.

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