Online freight matching must include CoR: NatRoad

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has provided a submission to the Victorian Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said: “The nature of the freight task is changing. We told the inquiry that this change in part comes from changing community preferences and demographics linked with technology developments. Members have informed us that there is a large number of digital platforms that ‘match’ freight tasks with transport companies. They essentially offer a limited form of freight forwarding, often without assuming any of the liabilities which accompany the traditional manner in which freight forwarding tasks occur. They want members to operate on demand.
“The experience of members with these platforms has been negative,” he said.
“NatRoad surveyed our members and the qualitative feedback was that currently digital platforms are only used to fill occasional loads. But there are no checks and balances in place to ask if the members have the capacity to complete the job, the right insurance or safety measures in place. These platforms do not meet the chain of responsibility requirements at all.
“NatRoad’s answer to the regulatory issues that arise in relation to digital platforms is to extend the chain of responsibility laws to these platforms under certain circumstances. It is clear from the feedback from the member survey that regulation through the chain of responsibility would be welcomed by members.
“Although NatRoad has welcomed the changes that enhance the chain of responsibility provisions from 1 October 2018, they are still limited to specific parties. The definition in the Heavy Vehicle National Law of who is a party in the chain needs to be amended to include all parties who influence or control transport activities. This will then capture persons who promote ‘platforms’ for the undertaking of work but who currently protect themselves from any legal responsibilities related to the transport task.
“NatRoad’s main recommendation to the inquiry, therefore, is an expansion in COR obligations.
“We also argued against the re-introduction of ‘safe rates’ into the transport industry. But we proposed that there should not be freight contract rate that was below the modern award minimum wage rate unless it was filling a backload or part-load and there was informed consent to this condition. Paying below the modern award rate would be plainly unconscionable” Mr Clark concluded.
 
 

Updated load restraint guide now available

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released an updated load restraint guide, with a complementary guide for light vehicle operators.
The updated Load Restraint Guide 2018 provides practical advice on how to safely transport a load.
“If you’re involved in packing, loading, moving or unloading any type of vehicle, you are responsible for complying with load restraint laws,” said Paul Retter, CEO, NTC.
“Restraining your load is not complex, but it does require training and knowledge. This guide will help you to know how to restrain your load safely through practical guidance material, including diagrams, in a user-friendly style allowing you to find the information you need quickly.”
The guide includes information on understanding the characteristics of the load in order to choose a suitable vehicle, as well as equipment and restraint systems which meet the performance standards legally required by law.
“The guide is an invaluable resource to ensure you are restraining loads correctly to prevent incidents that can cause death or injury, as well as damage to your business’ reputation and finances.
“We encourage everyone who is involved in restraining loads to read the guide and keep it handy as a reference,” said Retter.
This is the first time a version focusing on light vehicles has also been available, specifically for vehicles under 4.5 tonnes.

Toll Group safety manager joins ANC as CoR lead

Home delivery fleet ANC has announced the appointment of Matthew Wheatley to the newly created senior role of National Chain of Responsibility (CoR) Compliance Manager.
In his new role, Wheatley is responsible for achieving all transport industry safety and CoR legislation, regulations and compliance requirements while developing the company’s safety culture. He reports to ANC Managing Director, James Taylor.
“I’m delighted to welcome Matthew to the ANC team as we continue to build and invest in this priority area of our business,” said Taylor. “Matthew brings extensive experience and knowledge to our growing team dedicated to safety. At ANC, we’re committed to safety, health and environment throughout the supply chain – from our offices to warehouses; on and off the road; and from client sites to customers homes.”
Wheatley has held a range of senior health, safety and compliance roles, most recently as Regional Health and Safety Manager for the IPEC business unit of Toll Group. Prior to Toll Group, he held the position of National Safety Manager – Heavy Haulage and Lifting at Kings Transport.

Do you understand CoR?

This article first appeared in the August/September issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
By Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, Australian Logistics Council.
Speculation about the impact of Amazon on the Australian retail market kicked up a notch in late June, when news emerged that the company had acquired upscale grocery chain Whole Foods – effectively acquiring ‘bricks and mortar’ stores in strategic locations across the United States.
Many local industry participants are now wondering precisely what that might mean for the retail sector here in Australia, given Amazon’s well-publicised plans to expand in this country.
Yet, for all the time and space this and similar developments occupy in news pages and on television, most of the commentary on the issue is driven by speculation.
At the same time, comparatively little attention is being given to another significant change coming our way – one which won’t just impact freight logistics operators, but also anyone that uses their services.
Granted, it’s not in the shiny form of an app, or a big new market player, or drones delivering groceries straight to the balconies of high-rise apartment buildings in our cities.
Although the coming changes relate to something far more down to earth, they are far more relevant to the day-to-day operation of businesses.
Despite that, awareness and coverage of the issue to date has been astonishingly low.
The forthcoming changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws, which are due to come into effect in mid-2018, will have an impact on the operations of businesses throughout the economy – not merely in the transport sector.
Accordingly, now is the time to become familiar with exactly what those changes will mean for your business – and establish appropriate systems within business operations to ensure compliance.
For those who may be unfamiliar with its operation, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) sets the rules that ensure vehicles of more than 4.5 tonnes in weight operate in a safe manner in all states and territories of Australia (except Western Australia and the Northern Territory).
Under its provisions, if you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you can be held legally liable for breaches of the HVNL – even if you have no direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle.
In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners and managers are deemed accountable for the actions of people under their control.
This is what is meant by the ‘Chain of Responsibility’.
The aim of the CoR laws is to make sure everyone in the supply chain shares equal responsibility for ensuring breaches of the law do not occur.
Under CoR, if you exercise – or have the capability of exercising, control of or influence over – any transport task, you are part of the supply chain, and therefore have a responsibility to ensure the law is complied with.
The law also recognises that multiple parties may be responsible for offences committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles.
By way of example, let’s consider consignors and consignees of goods.
Effectively, the HVNL is designed to prevent consignors or consignees from pressuring a transport operator to engage in unsafe behaviour, such as speeding or driving long distances without adequate breaks.
If a driver is found to have broken speed limits, or driven in a fatigued state, everyone who was responsible for requiring the driver to undertake a long journey in an unsafe manner could be prosecuted under the national law.
This is because consignors and consignees are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that drivers don’t speed or drive whilst fatigued. The current maximum penalty for failing to do this is $10,000.
Furthermore, this responsibility extends to directors who either authorised or knew – or ought to have reasonably known – about unsafe transport requirements. That said, it is considered an acceptable defence to show that parties such as directors have shown reasonable diligence in ensuring that the law is complied with.
Accordingly, if you are in a business that deals directly with transport operators to either send goods to clients, or to receive goods from suppliers, you should make certain you have a well-documented set of procedures establishing business rules requiring goods to be transported in a fashion that doesn’t compel drivers to act in a reckless manner.
It would also be prudent to ensure that the executive board establishes reporting requirements that measure how well these procedures have been adhered to.
Having appropriate procedures in place will become vastly more important when the amendments to CoR laws commence operation in the middle of 2018.
These changes are designed to align CoR more closely with workplace health and safety (WHS) laws.
Under the new regime, a primary duty of care will be introduced for supply chain participants to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of ‘road transport operations’, with executive officers (such as directors) having the primary duties regime applied to them through a positive due diligence obligation, similar to that imposed by WHS law.
Essentially, this means that if you or your company operates, loads, drives, sends or receives goods using a heavy vehicle, you will effectively have the same responsibilities as you presently do under WHS law to ensure that the CoR under the HVNL has not been breached.
This means you will need to make certain all reasonably practicable steps are taken to ensure vehicles are properly loaded and goods secured, and that drivers undertake their responsibilities in a safe manner.
This underscores the need to ensure that properly documented road transport practices are kept, and that your organisation’s executive board is kept properly informed as to compliance with these measures.
Yet, in a survey undertaken by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) in April this year, 50 per cent of respondents did not believe their organisation understood the changes coming to CoR.
Even more worrying was the fact that 90 per cent of respondents were unable to say the CEO of their organisation fully understood their obligations in respect of these matters.
Given the clear lack of knowledge about CoR and the operation of the HVNL, it’s evident that far more needs to be done to support industry in meeting its obligations – and time is of the essence.
Considerable efforts are now under way within the freight logistics industry to help make this happen.
The HVNL permits the development and registration of registered industry codes of practice.
People who can demonstrate compliance with a Code can use this as evidence to prove they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the discharge of their safety obligations.
The ALC and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are now working together to develop a registered industry Master Code of Practice designed to assist freight and supply chain participants in complying with their CoR obligations.
It is the intention of the ALC and the ATA to have the new Master Code ready when the changes to CoR come into effect in mid-2018.
This will help provide certainty for the industry and promote higher standards when it comes to heavy-vehicle safety – which is in the interests of all road users.
The Master Code will help meet and manage the common risks faced by all heavy-vehicle operators, and help reduce red tape and compliance costs.
Given that 98 per cent of trucking businesses have fewer than 20 employees, and that other relevant road parties such as consignors and receivers also have HVNL obligations, establishing a Master Code is a practical way to help responsible parties manage safety risks.
Work on developing the Master Code is now well under way, and the ALC will be working with the ATA to keep industry fully informed as to its progress.
A particularly significant stage of its development will be the 2017 ALC Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit [please note, this event has now passed, read a full review in the December 2017 Logistics & Materials Handling].
Taking place in Sydney, 5–6 September, this event will provide an opportunity for participants to have direct input into the Master Code’s content, though a series of workshops focusing on management of speed, fatigue, load and maintenance issues.
All organisations with an interest in improving supply chain safety should register to attend, and make sure their views are heard as the Master Code is developed.

DB Schenker Australia reveals plans for mammoth NSW facility

DB Schenker Australia has revealed details about its new logistics facility in Hoxton, New South Wales – 42km west of Sydney. The company notes that the internal site covers an area the size of almost eight football fields, making it one of the largest multi-client contract logistics facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.
The addition of the Hoxton site, with its 50,000m2 internal area and 15,000m2 external under-cover area, will bring DB Schenker Australia’s nationwide coverage to 330,000m2 over 25 sites when it becomes operational later this year.
Hoxton Park will be a multi-client facility for consumer electronics, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and fashion/retail customers. It is located close to major highways, including the M7, M4 and M5, and has access to the Sydney metro and national network.
“Hoxton Park is the newest and largest contract logistics facility for DB Schenker in Australia,” said Ron Koehler, CEO Australia and New Zealand. “Our staff will provide for our customers first-class logistics services in this well-positioned facility right on the Sydney freeway network.”
He added that the company will also utilise the facility as a hub for domestic transport network, and to move full container load movements cost effectively to Hoxton Park for distribution to Sydney customers.
The facility will incorporate Automated Transport Sortation Systems (ATSS) that will allow for the consolidation of freight from several customers into the Schenker domestic transport business. In addition, value added services will be provided on site, including an Advanced Technical Centre providing configuration and testing for IT devices.
“DB Schenker Australia is consolidating existing business into Hoxton Park as well as adding new substantial business,” said Michael Harich, Director – Contract Logistics/Supply Chain Management AU/NZ, DB Schenker Australia. “Hoxton Park is a key part of our 2020 strategy to grow to 500,000m2 in Australia and at the same time combine existing smaller sites into larger facilities to generate synergies.”
Key features of the TAPA-certified facility include high clearance warehousing and access for high performance vehicles (two 40′ containers or four 20′ containers on one truck), full drive-around access and a weighbridge to support Chain of Responsibility (CoR) commitments.

NSW freight minister welcomes CoR changes

NSW minister for roads, maritime and freight Melinda Pavey has thrown her support behind proposed interstate changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Chain of Responsibility (CoR).
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) have submitted joint notices of intention to the regulator to develop an industry-wide ‘Master Code’ that is hoped to enhance heavy-vehicle safety.
Introduced at the 2017 ALC Compliance Summit in Sydney, the new code of conduct is hoped to extend the legal obligations for safe road transit of executive officers and company directors right across the supply chain.
Speaking at the summit on Tuesday, Pavey described the number of deaths on state roads annually as “unacceptable,” insisting that zero should be the only acceptable target.
“I strongly support the introduction of a fair regime for the Chain of Responsibility as I believe it delivers on road safety,” Pavey said. “We have advocated a common start date of 1 July 2018 for various Chain of Responsibility reforms for various industry and regulator education.
“We know there is a lot to do and one of the things is the issue of improving and enhancing the quality of heavy vehicles, encouraging that investment.
“One of the ways that we need to do that is to have good conversations with local councils around Sydney and explain to them that a higher-capacity heavy vehicle can also be a safer heavy vehicle.”
Freight is a $60 billion industry in Australia and employs close to 500,000 people, directly or indirectly.
Industry forecasts anticipate freight volumes will almost double to 794 million tonnes by 2031 and is said to be one of the major factors when considering safety.
A Master Code will effectively hold all parties of the supply chain accountable for breaches of road transport, mass dimension loading, speed compliance and work-hour laws.
“Freight is important to the state and I am constantly reminding people that I am not only the roads minister but also minister for roads, maritime and freight, and they are all of equal importance,” Pavey continued.
“I am honoured to be minister at a time when our government in New South Wales is investing in historic levels of freight infrastructure to ensure the transit and transfer of goods on our network is smooth and, above all, safe.
“And that is not without its challenges, at this time. We have seen an increase in heavy-vehicle incidents and fatalities over recent months and it is important that we look at those statistics.”
The minister said that road users are five times more likely to die in a crash in regional New South Wales than in metropolitan areas, with 10 fatalities for every 100,000 people.
In the city, an average of two people for every 100,000 people die on the roads. The divide, Pavey says, is similar to statistics recorded in the US.
“I am often told that this is not an achievable task and will never happen but we must work towards zero,” the minister said. “The New South Wales road toll isn’t only a number – it is people and is closer to home than you may think.
“It is a number that is unacceptable however small it is until that number gets to zero. How many fatalities would you, as operators, be willing to accept in your company each year?
“Under the Chain of Responsibility, complying with transport law is a shared responsibility where all parties in the road transport supply chain are responsible for preventing breaches.
“We should be working together to push the number of deaths on New South Wales roads towards zero and I will, however, recognise the work of industry to achieve this.”

ALC safety summit insight to shape future strategy

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) identified a number of priority areas at the its Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit that will form the basis of its efforts to improve supply chain safety over the year ahead.
The event was held in Sydney this week, and featured an address by the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, as well as a keynote presentation by Sarah Bell, UK Traffic Commissioner for London and the South East of England, focusing on the central role of UK Traffic Commissioners in managing risks to road safety.
“The Summit, which was attended by more than 280 people from across the supply chain, reinforced ALC’s position as Australia’s leading industry advocate for supply chain safety and compliance,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“As the Summit’s opening video noted, Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is all about safety. These two days were an invaluable opportunity for industry representatives to recommit to continuous improvement, learn more about effective safety practices, and consider how to apply these techniques in their own day-to-day operations.”
A core focus of the Summit was the upcoming changes to Chain of Responsibility obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), and the development of a Registered Industry Code of Practice (Master Code) to assist CoR compliance.
“Through a series of consultative workshops, attendees also had the opportunity to directly shape the content of the Master Code for heavy-vehicle safety, currently being developed by ALC in partnership with the Australian Trucking Association (ATA),” added Kilgariff.
As a result of the discussions that occurred at the Summit, the ALC has identified a number of key themes, and the actions flowing from these will form the basis of ALC’s safety-related work program over the coming year. These are:
1. The Master Code is a significant step – but it can’t solve all the problems. 
The ALC will work to ensure it is comprehensive resource for industry – but organisations will still need to consider their own operational circumstances when thinking about CoR compliance.
2. Continuous improvement in safety is a core aspect of freight’s social licence. 
The ALC will work with industry and governments to highlight the improved technology and safety features of modern heavy vehicles to contribute to improved safety for all road users, including passenger vehicles.
3. Safety is a shared responsibility. 
The ALC will continue working to highlight this within the industry and in other sectors, especially given the increased CoR obligations of directors/executive officers from mid-2018. Driving continuous improvement in compliance is both good community practice and good business practice.
4. There is scope to make greater use of telematics and technology in safety.
The ALC will continue to advocate for the compulsory use of telematics to improve safety, as well as the removal of legislative and regulatory barriers that prevent the uptake of technology that improves safety and productivity.
5. CoR compliance will increasingly factor into procurement and contract arrangements. 
Both governments and listed companies are writing CoR compliance requirements into contractual arrangements, and won’t deal with businesses that can’t demonstrate compliance. Through the delivery of the Master Code, ALC will assist businesses to develop procedures they need to not only ensure compliance, but also demonstrate it.
6. Training is vital. 
Businesses need to make certain their employees (and subcontractors) understand their CoR obligations. The ALC will emphasise the importance of building CoR compliance components into training employee training modules – for both new and existing employees.
7. Relatively low cost of entry to industry poses safety risks. 
Often new entrants to the sector are failing to invest adequately in vehicle safety and CoR compliance. The ALC will continue our advocacy on operator licensing/compliance and work with regulators to encourage a particular focus on compliance in this area of the market, especially given anticipated growth in e-commerce and peer-to-peer freight delivery models.
8. Executives need to understand CoR compliance and effectiveness of their organisation’s systems. 
Board reporting on CoR is not just a good way of ensuring obligations are being complied with – but is also a good way of keeping safety issues a priority for businesses. The ALC will continue to work with industry to develop metrics for CoR board reporting that makes the information provided to executives meaningful, and capable of driving safety and business improvement.
9. Heavy vehicles are still overrepresented in accident and fatality statistics – even though heavy vehicle drivers are not always the party at fault. 
Trend lines have started to run the wrong way – and this is not a time for complacency. The ALC will engage with law-enforcement and regulatory agencies to help determine what factors are driving this (including illicit drug use), and assist with the development and delivery of strategies to combat them.
10. Messages about load restraint/overloading are still not penetrating the whole of the industry. 
The ALC will continue to support regulators’ efforts to promote this critical safety issue, particularly among smaller and independent operators.

UC Logistics launches compliance app for freight operators

Perth-based UC Logistics has launched a new transport platform to enable heavy-haulage providers to meet Australia’s strict compliance standards.
The online business-to-business platform, iFR8, allows clients to receive and compare quotes and book freight movements with ‘premium’ Australian transport providers, and gives drivers constant reminders of their Chain of Responsibility obligations.
Urszula Kelly, Founder and Managing Director, UC Logistics, said the company launched the transport platform after hearing concerns that those already in the marketplace had been launched by companies taking no responsibility for ensuring their service providers, putting their goods at risk of loss, damage or delay by operators unaware of their legal obligations when receiving and transporting goods.
Kelly said several companies contacted UC Logistics Australia about their worries, asking them to come on board with their apps.
“When we asked how they ensure their providers comply with the law, they didn’t have an answer,” she said. “This prompted us to develop our own platform – iFR8, which is distinctly different from the others.
“We engage only premium quality heavy haulage providers who are accredited, adequately insured, qualified and extensively experienced in their field.
“We take safety and compliance very seriously and spend a significant amount of time on screening operators that want to work with us.”
The platform offers one contact point for all logistics requirements, regardless of whether the job takes one provider or many, so clients no longer need to speak to numerous suppliers to manage multiple quotes and jobs.
In addition, it provides a digital paper trail of all freight movements through a web portal and mobile app.
Kelly noted that some of the smallest companies provide the best service at the best rates, adding that iFR8 allows them to compete on a level playing field.
“iFR8 offers equal opportunity for all providers – regardless of how small their fleet,” she said.
“We welcome collaborations with suppliers of the highest quality, who meet our strict prequalification requirements and who have a proven record of providing ‘beyond expectations’ customer service.
“There are many ‘wannabe’ transport businesses out there at the minute, this is why it makes perfect sense to promote suppliers that are passionate about the safety and passionate about the transport industry in general – we are excited about collaborating with them.”

Accident liability spread across the supply chain

The new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws mean companies consigning, packing, loading and receiving goods, in addition to those operating transport companies could be liable for penalties of up to $300,000 for individuals and $3 million for corporations.
UC Logistics Managing Director Urszula Kelly has commented that, while most people know of cases where truck drivers have broken rules to meet deadlines, under the recent changes to legislation, liability for accidents now rests with all parties along the supply chain not just drivers.
Kelly added that she fears many organisations still don’t even know they could be liable for the huge penalties, despite the new legislation taking effect in Western Australia in April 2015 and significant legislation changes being implemented in other states mid-2018.
She said that though Main Roads WA had done a lot of work pushing the changes to the transport industry, not enough had been done to inform vendors, suppliers and clients.
“Consignors and consignees are unaware that new CoR laws apply to them and they may even hold the false belief that they apply only to transport providers,” she said.
“But all these businesses along the chain needs to assess their responsibilities under the legislation and take steps to comply.
“This means taking a risk management approach to the introduction of the legislation by assessing staff training requirements, making new policies and workplace practices, perhaps seeking legal advice and telling customers about the changes and the impact it may have on them.”
Ashley Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Pilbara Access, added that education around the new chain of responsibility laws hasn’t filtered down to all those affected.
He said he had a broad awareness of the changes but largely thought they applied to the transport companies engaged to move goods on their behalf.
“Sourcing relevant information to inform our staff of their obligations and responsibilities has been challenging at best, with information sourced from websites, client guidelines, and old fashioned common sense,” Smith said.
“I recommend every business take the time to make sure all their staff are educated.
Kelly said UC Logistics felt a responsibility not only to its clients and suppliers, but everyone in the industry and was investing heavily in educating all parties.
“We have online videos, fact sheets and in-house training and in June we are launch a new software that will be capable of regularly remaindering clients of their responsibilities.
“We are taking our responsibility very seriously, investing time and money to make sure everyone gets home safe at night.”
 

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator forum kicks off in Brisbane

A new round of heavy vehicle Chain of Responsibility information sessions kicked off in Brisbane on Thursday, in preparation for the new laws set to come into force in 2018.
Darren Chester, Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister, said the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Forum would assist businesses in the heavy vehicle supply chain to understand their role in heavy vehicle safety.
“More than 160 companies will receive information about the Chain of Responsibility reforms which are currently being rolled out nationally,” Chester said. “There were 213 deaths from 191 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks or buses in 2016. I am determined to see that number continue to fall and make heavy vehicle safety everyone’s business.
“The NHVR information sessions will complement heavy vehicle and national workplace safety laws, and make it easier for duty holders to understand and assess their risks, and know whether they are complying with the law.
“Through the replacement of existing prescriptive obligations, the whole transport industry can benefit from a reduction of red tape and better apply risk management processes to focus on safety outcomes.”
Chester said the Federal Government would support the transition to the new laws with an $800,000 information campaign by the NHVR, including forums across Australia.
“The Forum will support the changes which passed through Queensland Parliament in December last year to improve safety outcomes and provide a strong and more stable supply chain,” said Queensland Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“Whether you are a consignor, scheduler, CEO or board member all parties in the supply chain will need to be more proactive in managing risks to ensure safe transport operations.”
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the NHVR would provide information to support the heavy vehicle industry and the heavy vehicle supply chain through these changes.
“Earlier this year we released our guidelines for Industry Codes of Practice, and a series of Chain of Responsibility fact sheets and podcasts as part of a national effort to boost safety for all road users,” he said. “The new reforms come into effect in mid 2018, giving all businesses across the heavy vehicle supply chain time to prepare for the changes.”

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