New Zealand heavily relies on the trucking business, with over 90% of the country’s total freight being transported by trucks (and the rest by rail and coastal shipping) according to New Zealand’s Road Transport Forum. That said, there is an apparent demand for transporting goods over the road in the country, and businesses and consumers expect their packages to arrive safely to their destination.
Although trucking companies are required to follow industry safety standards and regulations to ensure overall safety in operations, it’s best to take note of the following tips to ensure further the safety of the goods being transported, as well as that of the truck driver and the truck itself:
#1 Picking and Training the Right Driver
No matter how well-planned your system is, or how equipped and maintained your vehicles are, the transportation of goods through your trucking business heavily depends on having a competent and well-trained driver. You need to be very careful as to who you hire and be more stringent with your hiring process. Consider doing a background test and also have applicants undergo drug and alcohol screening (within the bounds of laws, of course) to ensure that your vehicles and the goods being transported are in good hands. After choosing the right driver for the job, it’s essential that they undergo proper training with regards to the routes, safety policies, and be well-versed with everything they need to know to do their job correctly.
#2 Pay Attention Towards Fatigue Control and Planning
Tired drivers are less alert, have an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, and are more prone to getting sick. While it’s quite tempting to provide long haul drivers with incentives to push the limits of their endurance by driving for extended periods to ensure timely delivery, the risk associated with it isn’t worth the time and money your company would save. Your routes and transportation plans should provide limits as to the number of hours a driver can continuously operate until they’re required to take a rest. However, if you need to meet your delivery schedule and a long haul is necessary to do so, consider having two drivers operate so they can take turns while the other recuperates.
#3 Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance and Improvements
Your trucks should undergo frequent inspection and maintenance to minimise the risk of them breaking down in the middle of transporting goods — which won’t only lead to delays or damaged goods but can potentially result in fatal accidents. Inspections should be done before and after trips to ensure the safety of the vehicle, the driver, and the goods being transported. Likewise, you may want to consider upgrades to your truck and trailer to improve stability and endurance, such as getting a custom-made transporter trailer that fits your operations’ needs in terms of capacity and duration of transport.
#4 Develop Emergency Plans
Lastly, it’s best for you to have contingency plans in place in case of an accident or if your truck breaks during transport. For example, in case of a vehicular breakdown, you may want to have contact numbers of fellow trucking companies in the area that can carry your load for you to prevent delays, or better yet have a standby truck that’s ready to drive to the site of the breakdown and finish the job. Likewise, you should also have emergency contacts in case one of your drivers get into an accident in the middle of the road.
While it’s important for trucking companies to meet their schedules, it’s arguably more important to prioritise the safety of the goods being transported (better late than never, as they say). And by following the tips listed above, not only would trucking companies guarantee that products arrive safely at their destination, but also safeguard its operations, drivers, and vehicles.