With uncertainty, disruptions and a constantly-changing environment set to continue well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some practical steps road freight operators can take to ensure some stability in their operations. “This new, unpredictable, disruptive way of doing business is going to be with us for some time, so companies need to adapt – and they need to do this quickly,” says Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive of the Road Freight Association (RFA). “There is a long, rough road ahead and those operators that survive and thrive are going to be those that can access the benefits of strong trade associations such as the RFA.”
Kelly says that, as an association representing the industry, the RFA is able to leverage its strengths for the benefit of all its members. This includes lobbying on matters affecting its members such as labour and legislation and even negotiating better rates on big budget items such as fuel, legal advice, insurance and education and training. “Access to information and networks is the key reason that many operators sign up for membership,” says Kelly. “The RFA is the information hub for the trucking industry – members are often amazed at how quickly we are able to respond to requests for information and advice. As an industry we are definitely stronger together and we need to work together.”
Kelly offers some valuable advice for all road freight operators during these challenging and unpredictable times:
- Follow the COVID-19 Health Protocols published by the RFA: your business needs to follow these as a start.
- Ensure that you are registered with the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) so that you can benefit from the huge assistance packages the RFA has made possible. This helps you pay workers and will keep your business going during the dry spell.
- Look at your expenses: Make sure that you cover the important aspects of your business. Cutting maintenance costs for example is not a wise approach.
- Ensure you play a role in identifying corrupt practices.
- Join the RFA so that we can tackle corruption and other challenges together.
- Transport efficiently and safely and refuse to operate in non-sustainable circumstances. Ask a decent price for a decent service offered – don’t accept anything that is sub-standard.
- Join the RFA!
Since its establishment in 1975, the RFA has played a vital role in assisting trucking companies through turbulent times. The onset of the COVD-19 pandemic, however, has meant that operators have had to deal with far more challenges, in a shorter space of time. “Our members have access to the RFA’s team of experts – covering labour, technical, legislative, operational and many other matters,” explains Kelly. “Our team is just a phone call or email away.
Kelly encourages trucking companies of all sizes to join the Association: “We are stronger together – in these uncertain times, can any operator afford not to be a member?”