The trucking industry is calling for all hands to the pump as New Zealand faces an indefinite length of time operating under the red ‘traffic light’ system which will strain the supply chain, says Transporting NZ‘s CEO Nick Leggett.
“We know there are New Zealanders out there with a Class 2, 4 or 5 licence, suitable for a heavy vehicle, who are not currently working as truck drivers and we are asking them to consider making themselves available to drive a truck in the weeks and months ahead as we face the wave of Omicron,” Leggett says.
“Looking across the Tasman to Australia and further afield to the United States and United Kingdom, we know that Omicron can decimate the driver workforce, through both drivers getting the virus and/or having to isolate because they have been exposed to it.
“We are already seeing the anticipation of this disruption to the supply chain ironically, start the disruption prematurely with people panic buying goods and stockpiling.”
Leggett is appealing to people who have a licence and relevant experience to let him know, so his firm can link drivers with transport companies to fill some of the gaps “if and when the supply chain flow becomes critical”.
“We are an industry that was short of drivers, pre Covid-19, and that has only intensified as our border has been closed for years and labour pressures have increased,” says Leggett.
“It is estimated that one in four transport companies have vehicles parked up due to driver shortage. Omicron is likely to compound that issue.
“We might only be talking about a shift or two, but every license holder who is willing and able to lend a hand, will help keep New Zealand’s supply chain running. It’s vital that food and medical supplies continue to move at this time. Someone putting their hand up for a shift could help ensure the deliveries keep rolling.”
Leggett says Transporting New Zealand will be working with the Government to ensure anyone on Jobseeker who meets the appropriate licence requirements can be made aware they may be needed.
Any drivers willing to work through this time can register their interest to Transporting New Zealand via email at email@example.com They will be subject to the normal screening and there are no guarantees of work.