News: 20 February 2015
News added by: Don Malcolm 20 February 2015
Driving a truck has long been considered a fairly lowly profession, and for some, it is reflected in the way they drive, treat their vehicle, load, and fellow road users.
But for most, this is not the case – the expectations placed upon them by employer, colleagues and clients are very high, as is the cost and complexity of the equipment they drive. A new curtain side truck starts at about $110,000 (for a little one) through to about $200,000 for a 6 wheeler with a tail lift. A “big rig”, truck and trailer or swing lift can easily cost $500,000.
Our drivers are required to be literate and accurate, they need the negotiation and diplomacy skills of Kissinger, and they need to be physically and mentally capable to handle the myriad of different circumstances that come their way each and every day.
They need to be able to cope with Auckland’s terrible traffic issues, and yet maintain good progress and met impossible deadlines – the ability to be in two or more places at once is a great advantage.
Drivers also operate in an environment that is dangerous – heavy loads that can move, idiots on forklifts who risk all around them, car drivers who put themselves in harm’s way. They are literally one step away from danger from the time they clock in each morning, until they arrive home at night. Proper breaks for coffee or lunch are often not practical or possible; often resulting in a meal on the run (many drivers can tell you the location and rating of pie shops all over Auckland).
There are clients who forget that any transport operator’s responsibilities effectively stop at the tailboard – unless contracted (and paid accordingly) the driver is not responsible to unload the truck at destination. Somehow there is often an expectation that he’ll be able to cope with huge and heavy cargo without assistance.
Having said that, we do have clients who pay that bit extra for tail lift unloads, and for freight to be moved into storage or similar. Unpacking pallets or cartons and stacking shelves is considerably more expensive, as is lugging heavy cartons up flights of stairs…
Our guys have all earned the right and deserve the accolade of “Professional Truck Driver”, they deserve the respect of their peers, their colleagues, and the community at large.
Next time you see one, offer him a cup of coffee and a word of appreciation – he deserves it!