Toll to spend $311 million to boost Bass Strait trade

Toll is to spend $311 million to boost Bass Strait trade, in a project that the company says will see shipping capacity increase between mainland Australia and Tasmania, supporting economic growth and rising demand for local produce.
Toll Group managing director Michael Byrne said the investment includes $170 million to build two new ships and $141 million to upgrade terminals, wharves and berthing facilities in Melbourne and Burnie.
“This is the largest-ever investment by a logistics business in the Bass Strait, and underpins Toll’s commitment to the Australian domestic market and the Bass Strait trade,” said Mr Byrne.
“Toll is the gateway between Tasmania and mainland Australia. We are proud to support the state’s local economy by helping businesses reach interstate and international markets. Equally important, Tasmanian consumers depend upon Toll to import products, particularly retail goods, and we are proud to support this exchange.
“Bolstering our carrying capacity means we can support the Tasmanian exports boom driven by demand from Australian and Asian markets,” he added.
Toll’s new ships and facility upgrades will provide more capacity to transport goods, including:

  • 40 per cent more capacity for containers and trailers, with later cut-off times and earlier receivals.
  • Increased capability and capacity to handle refrigerated freight.
  • Faster turnaround times for customers due to terminal upgrades at McGaw Wharf and Webb Dock, providing more efficient loading and discharge of the ships.

The new, 700 TEU purpose-built ships will commence operations on 1 March 2019. They will replace Toll’s existing ships, and continue to operate overnight services on a six-day per week schedule.
Works to update the wharves have commenced at Webb Dock in Melbourne. They are scheduled to begin in Burnie later this month.
 

Toll bounces back

Toll MD Michael Byrne.

Toll Group, a subsidiary of Japan Post, has reported earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $119 million for the year ended 31 March 2018, an improvement of over 70% on financial year 2017.
Today’s result is the first time in three years that Toll reports growth in profit and revenue.
Some impressive numbers:

  • Revenue of $8.2 billion, up $309 million compared to last year.
  • Global Logistics reported an EBIT of $191 million, up 13%, off the back of strong performances in Asia and in key segments in Australia including government and defence, mining, energy and retail.
  • Global Express delivered a $59 million turnaround compared to last year’s result, driven by an improved operating cost structure from transformation activities in network consolidation and productivity.
  • Global Forwarding returned to profit, delivering close to a $9 million improvement to EBIT, despite reduced margins. This was delivered through cost improvement initiatives, including exiting unprofitable countries, which have set the business up for future growth. Customer satisfaction reached record levels in FY18.
  • A reduction of over 16% in total injuries in FY18 as a result of an increased focus and investment in this area, which the company says will continue to be a priority in the coming year.
  • Delivery of 1,000 new fleet and equipment, part of a six-year, $1.6 billion asset investment program. A further 1,500 of the latest in fleet will be added to its network this year. The safety technology and fuel-efficiency of these assets is expected to create new possibilities for the network with improved safety and maintenance costs as well as reduced emissions.
  • Close to $600 million investment in capital expenditure on fleet, vessels, infrastructure and technology, which resulted an overall negative cash outflow for the year.

Toll Group managing director Michael Byrne said the performance marks the successful execution of the first year of Toll’s transformation strategy.
“Having successfully delivered on the first year of our overall three year transformation program, we are a leaner business, creating more value for our customers. This turnaround has been driven by the 44,000 strong Toll team who have done an outstanding job of implementing this program of rapid and significant change,” Mr Byrne said.
“While Toll is much stronger than this time last year, we remain vigilant. Our transformation continues, and our results to date show that our strategy is the right one for today’s markets and the long-term opportunities ahead. We will continue to focus on delighting our customers, disciplined cash flow and being smarter with our costs.”

Workers are valued: Toll signs worldwide union agreement

The Toll Group has underlined its strong commitment to ensuring safe and fair working standards for all its employees across its 1,200 sites in 50 countries, by signing a unique agreement with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its affiliated unions.
By signing the agreement, Toll has committed to abide by international labour standards. The ‘global charter of principles’ outlines guiding principles by which crucial decisions will be made around the working conditions for Toll workers focusing on health and safety standards, business strategies and initiatives, improvements in working conditions in developing countries and the development of projects that increase industry standards and safety.
Under the charter, Toll, which represents 44,000 workers in road transport and distribution, logistics, supply chain and warehousing, has committed to making a significant investment in the development and implementation of a global project that will raise standards and safety in its main sectors.
The charter was launched at an event at the ITF’s newly-opened Singapore office, and was attended by ITF general secretary Steve Cotton, ITF head of inland transport Noel Coard, national secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Tony Sheldon and Michael Byrne, managing director of Toll.
Michael Byrne said the company was delighted to be taking the lead on improving standards for transport and logistics workers.
“Our agreement with the ITF reflects Toll’s broader commitment to creating a strong and viable logistics industry that fosters a safe and rewarding work environment for all. With this charter, Toll and the ITF are setting clear standards to our approach for safety, labour relations and growth in our industry. I am proud that Toll is leading the way and I look forward to working cooperatively with the ITF to shape these future standards,” Mr Byrne said.
Steve Cotton said: “Toll’s workers are vitally important to their success. Their expertise, experience, ideas and motivation make the company what it is. The signing of this agreement truly shows Toll’s promise to put their workers first and we are committed to a healthy working relationship with Toll through full and constructive dialogue.
“The unions we represent continually strive to protect and honour their members and today marks a giant step in the right direction for raising standards for workers.”
 

Let’s save a thousand lives

In an open letter to Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Michael Byrne, managing director of the Toll Group calls for the Government to urgently address six critical areas needed to improve road safety on Australian roads.
“Dear Prime Minister,
Recent media reports have highlighted what we in the transport industry already know all too well – Australia has a dire road safety problem. In the five years to 2016, more than 1,000 people were killed in truck crashes. Our approach to heavy vehicles in this country is core to tackling this issue.
We have heard from many experts across government and academia on what needs to be done to improve road safety, and we thank them for their important contributions. I write to you to as the leader of Australia’s largest transport and logistics company, Toll Group, and the former leader of Linfox, the second largest transport company. I’ve worked in the trucking business since I was 13 years old, and am a second generation industry veteran with my mother having run a highly successful transport business.
I offer you a different perspective to this important discussion on what must be done to improve safety on our roads. I bring you an operator’s perspective.
We must begin by addressing six critical areas.
Firstly, we must have one rule book across Australia. Starting with the basics – we are yet to have a consistent definition of what a ‘heavy vehicle’ is. Sometimes it’s a vehicle above 12 tonnes (for work and rest hours), sometimes above 12 tonnes and manufactured after 1997 (for speed limiters – except in NSW), and sometimes a vehicle above 4.5 tonnes (mass, dimension and load restraint). Compliance starts with clarity of the rules. A truck should be any vehicle 4.5 tonnes and above. Period.
On the life and death matter of driver fatigue, our current state-based system allows drivers to drive for up to 17 hours in a 24 hour period in Western Australia and up to 18 hours in the Northern Territory – a workday that would be illegal for a driver in any other state. This leaves time for a maximum of only 6 to 7 hours of rest in a 24 hour period – resulting in the physiological equivalent of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. We do not accept drunk driving. We should not accept fatigued driving.
Further, the maximum speed limit for trucks between 4.5 and 12 tonne varies from 100 km/h in NSW to 130 km/h in the Northern Territory. Any truck driver making the slightest error in judgement at 130 km/h will certainly have a devastating outcome for the driver and anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity.
It is time for a genuinely national approach to heavy vehicle regulation, including for heavy vehicle driver licensing. A national driver licensing system can stipulate the skills and competencies required to safely drive a heavy vehicle, including how to restrain a load and how to fill out a work diary. A genuinely national system would mean that licence cancellation in one state means cancellation in all states. A targeted strategy will attract new drivers, arrest the decline in competent drivers and provide a career path for driving professionals.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was supposed to deliver one rule book. It hasn’t.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory have refused to sign up to the national law. And so today Australian road freight operators are subject to multiple and overlapping rules at the local council, state and national level. Let’s look to aviation for inspiration on how this can be achieved. This industry is subject to one set of rules. No exceptions. We must follow.
Secondly, we must introduce an operator licensing system. Where operators in maritime, rail and aviation must all demonstrate their safety and competence before they can operate, in road transport virtually anyone with a truck, a driver and an ABN can be a road freight operator. This makes Australia unusual: most comparable countries have an operator licensing system for road transport. For example, in the UK, road transport operators must pass a ‘fit and proper’ person test, prove they have the funds to maintain vehicles, and employ transport managers who understand what compliance looks like.
Third, the solution to the road toll cannot and will not come solely from industry. The community, government, enforcement and road safety bodies must do their part too. Through NTI data, we know that in 93% of fatalities involving a truck, the other party was at fault. Yet national and state road safety strategies are silent on how light vehicle drivers can ‘share the road’ safely with trucks. There is an opportunity to ensure that drivers are educated on driving safely around trucks, such as safe stopping distances and over-taking, as part of licensing schemes.
Fourth, by pulling the right policy levers, government can incentivise and reward safe behaviours from heavy vehicle operators. Discounted registration and stamp duty fees could be offered to operators with sound safety records. Government can also mandate investment in newer, safer more sustainable fleet. Technologies such as autonomous emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems and electronic stability control can save up to 104 lives per year but are taking too long to become standard in the fleet. The average age of a heavy rigid truck in Australia is 15.7 years. The average age of an articulated truck is 11.9 years. An operator licensing system could stipulate a maximum vehicle age or offer subsidies/incentives to safe operators to deploy these lifesaving technologies.
Fifth, mandate telematics, which includes GPS and black box technology, for all new heavy vehicles. Enforcement of the rules is tough in Australia because of the vast  distances between towns. There are not enough police to catch every driver and operator who puts other road users at risk. Mandatory telematics on every vehicle will identify operators that systematically and deliberately speed, overload vehicles and push fatigue limits. Removing operators who refuse to do the right thing protects the community and allows good operators to remain competitive.
Finally, we must ensure that operators such as Toll Group are actively engaged in any debate and policy development pertaining to road safety and heavy vehicles. Any discussion on heavy vehicle regulation must draw on private sector expertise to truly understand how we can overcome the obstacles that are holding us back from creating safer roads for our community.
To recap, I call on the government to make the following six points a priority to affect real improvements in driving the road toll down:

  • Have one rule book for heavy vehicles and heavy vehicle drivers across the country. No variations, no exceptions. This must cover a standard definition of a heavy vehicle as well as a national approach to:
  1. Mandatory stationary rest times for heavy vehicle drivers, speed limits for heavy vehicles and a driver.
  2. The licencing system.
  • Introduce a national operator licencing system.
  • Enhance community understanding of how to drive safely around trucks, including through the graduated licensing system and education campaigns.
  • Incentivise and reward safe, modern fleets with life-saving technologies.
  • Make telematics mandatory for regulatory purposes.
  • Draw on private sector expertise from transport operators in any discussion on improving road safety outcomes pertaining to heavy vehicles.

I am sending this letter to all road and road safety ministers across Australia with the view to driving collaboration across governments. As Australia’s largest provider of road freight logistics, Toll stands ready to work with all governments to make these six points a reality.
In our view, we don’t need any further research, studies and committees. We have immediate, critical opportunities before us today that, when implemented, will save lives. We know what needs to be done. It is time for action.”

Safer roads require national leadership: ALC

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has fully endorsed the six-point national heavy vehicle safety plan Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Toll Group, proposed in his recent letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“The proposals contained in the plan are entirely consistent with longstanding ALC policy, and offer a clear pathway to delivering improved road safety, not only for heavy vehicles, but for all road users,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“As an industry leader on freight and supply chain policy issues, ALC has continually emphasised that our supply chains do not stop at state borders. Accordingly, regulations which govern heavy vehicles and freight movement need to be nationally consistent, to promote supply chain efficiency and safety, and to provide certainty for industry.”
Kilgariff called for the Federal Government to immediately pursue discussions with the governments of Western Australia and the Northern Territory to encourage them to sign up to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). “In a modern national economy, it is not feasible to have inconsistent rules in different states pertaining to the definition of a heavy vehicle, speed limits and regulation of driver’s working hours and mandatory rest times,” he said.
“The Federal Government should also immediately pursue a national operator licensing system, which ALC strongly supports as essential to improving road safety and making certain the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who understand their safety obligations.”
Kilgariff also welcomed Byrne’s call for mandatory use of telematics. “Industry has consistently told governments that mandating the use of telematics in heavy vehicles is central to driving better safety outcomes and saving lives on our roads,” he said. “Now is the time for decision-makers to heed that advice.”
The ALC’s 2018–19 Commonwealth Budget submission recommended that the Federal Government support measures that encourage the capture and use of technology and data, which is in line with Byrne’s own suggestions.
Kilgariff also praised Byrne’s proposal of discounted registration fees for transport operators that can demonstrate they are investing in telematics, as well as campaigns to improve driver awareness about sharing the road with heavy vehicles.
“Our industry stands ready to work with all governments to enhance heavy vehicle safety,” said Kilgariff. “They should take the opportunity to harness that goodwill and work with transport operators in the interests of saving lives and enhancing safety for all road users.”

Toll MD submits truck safety plan to PM

Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Australian transport and logistics company Toll Group, has submitted a six-point national truck safety plan to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and all road and road safety ministers across Australia.
“Australia has a dire road safety problem,” Byrne wrote in a letter to Turnbull. “Our approach to heavy vehicles in this country is core to tackling this issue. It’s time for a genuinely national approach to heavy vehicle regulation.”
He noted that, having heard from government and academic experts on improving safety, he wanted to give his own suggestions, as “the leader of Australia’s largest transport and logistics company,” former leader of “the second largest transport company,” Linfox, and a second-generation industry veteran who has worked in the industry since he was 13 years old.
In his letter, Byrne called for Turnbull to address six critical areas.
First, he requested a national rule book, which would provide a common definition for ‘heavy vehicle’, and consistent approaches across states for driver fatigue, speed limits, heavy-vehicle regulation and licensing.
“The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was supposed to deliver one rule book,” he said. “It hasn’t. Western Australia and the Northern Territory have refused to sign up to the national law. And so today, Australian road freight operators are subject to multiple and overlapping rules at the local council, state and national level.”
Second, Bryne stated the need for the introduction of an operator licensing system to ensure safety and competence, to bring the industry in line with others such as maritime, rail and aviation. “In road transport, virtually anyone with a truck, a driver and an ABN (Australian Business Number) can be a road freight operator,” he said. “Most comparable countries have an operator licensing system for road transport.”
Third, he wrote, road safety won’t be achieved by industry alone, the community, government, enforcement and road safety bodies must also do their parts. “We know that in 93 per cent of fatalities involving a truck, the other party was at fault,” he said. “Yet national and safe road safety strategies are silent on how light vehicle drivers can ‘share the road’ safely with trucks.”
Fourth, he called for government incentive to encourage safe behaviour. “Governments can incentivise and reward safe behaviours from heavy-vehicle operators,” he wrote. “Discounted registration and stamp duty fees could be offered to operators with sound safety records.”
Fifth, Byrne advised the Government to mandate telematics for all new heavy vehicles. “Mandatory telematics on every vehicle will identify operators that systematically and deliberately speed, overload vehicles and push fatigue limits,” he said.
Bryne’s sixth proposal was for the Government to ensure operators such Toll Group are actively engaged in debate and policy development regarding road safety. “Any discussion on heavy-vehicle regulation must draw on private sector expertise to truly understand how we can overcome the obstacles that are holding us back from creating safer roads for our community,” he wrote.
A spokesperson for Barnaby Joyce, the recently appointed Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, told the Sydney Morning Herald that several of Byrne’s points had merit and would be considered.
“Even though there is no general consensus in the industry on some of the proposed initiatives, we will continue to work with industry and stakeholders to improve heavy-vehicle safety,” the spokesperson said.
Toll Group’s call for a national approach to road safety follows the Australian Truck Association’s (ATA) announcement on 12 January of its partnership with the National Road Safety Partnership Program, which aims to spread knowledge and information across all industries about managing risk and reducing the road toll.
The ATA also called for the Federal Government to allocate $12 million in funding to road safety, establish a National Road Safety Commission, and give responsibility for investigating truck accidents to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
In late 2017, Toll Group announced its own plans to position safety culture at the centre of its operations, with Byrne saying at the time that safety “is common to all of us and a non-negotiable.”

Toll MD shares future leadership strategy

Speaking at ‘Developing the Millennial Generation: The Future of Leadership’, a breakfast event held in Melbourne this week, Michael Byrne, Managing Director of transportation and logistics company Toll Group, called for Australia’s senior leaders to rethink the way they approach millennials, training and future planning.
“We break up people into components and say they’re millennials, X Generation, that ethnicity, that religion,” said Byrne. “What I have learnt is – apart from a few outliers at the extremes – everyone is the same, and everyone wants the same things. We want a little bit better life than our parents, we want a little bit better life for our children, we want to eat a little bit better food, we want to drink a little bit better, we want a nice and safer life.”
Byrne noted that over the next decade, businesses will need to embrace and educate their young, “more technologically savvy” workers, as they will soon be at the helm.
“Millennials will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025 – eight years away,” he said. “If you’re not designing your workplace, product or service around that thinking, you’re failing your business.”
Addressing the senior industry leaders gathered in the room, Byrne advised them to stop focusing solely on priorities for tomorrow, next week and next month, and instead to consider the trajectory of the business over the coming years, and who will support its growth.
“In the next decade, the decisions will start to be made by millennials,” he said. “We need to get with the program and think about that and how we shape our businesses. They are going to have the money, they are going to have the votes, they are going to shape our communities.”
Byrne added that many businesses at present are failing to realise the importance of investing in education. “Education is really one of the most important things we do as leaders,” he said. “We need to be investing in our young people – you can’t afford not to educate, train and develop.
“Education and safety are the two budgets you never cut – in fact, every year you double down because otherwise the pace of the economy, the world economy and GDP will defeat you,” he said. “You can’t hold back the tide.”

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