It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of log truck drivers across much of New Zealand, to the point where it has even led to harvesting operations being suspended temporarily when landings fill with wood.
As transport operators develop strategies to bring new blood into the industry long-term, what’s been eluding them is how to attract new drivers who can fill vacancies right now to alleviate existing pressure points.
“We need to do things differently, because what we’ve been doing up to now hasn’t really worked,” says Warwick Wilshier, Managing Director of Williams & Wilshier, which runs fleets of log trucks in the Bay of Plenty and on the East Coast.
“We are looking at bringing skilled drivers from Europe, as we know of other companies who are having some success, but it’s not the long-term answer. It’s about local people,” he says.
While that may include recruiting freight delivery truck drivers with Class 3/4 licences to get their Class 5 licence and then train on log trucks, it’s just robbing another part of the transport industry already critically short of drivers overall.
School leavers aren’t necessarily the answer either, except as long-term replacements, adds Warwick “because unless they’ve been brought up in the transport industry – their father’s a truck driver – they don’t have an appreciation of it and the risk is quite high.”...
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