How Staffing Shortages are Impacting Australian Freight


How Staffing Shortages are Impacting Australian Freight

Staffing shortages are having a significant impact on the logistics industry, leading to delayed deliveries, increased costs, and disrupted supply chains.

But what’s causing them?

And how can your business put measures in place to maintain the performance of your supply chain in the face of ongoing staffing shortages in Australia?

What’s Causing the People Shortage in the Freight Industry?

There are several factors impacting the current staff shortage in the Australian freight industry.

Ongoing Impact of COVID-19

Many shifts happened during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and one of them is that the way people work has changed.

With every industry currently under staffing pressure, it’s proving harder to get drivers, and harder to get them to stay on.

Work/life balance is playing a part, with lots of people choosing to work less, or more flexible hours.

And with the increased demand for skilled workers, drivers have an increased choice of which routes they’d like to drive and can demand higher wages, all of which is having an impact on the cost and speed of freight delivery Australia-wide.

Lack of skilled migrants

When Australia’s borders began closing at the height of the pandemic, lots of migrant workers returned home.

And they haven’t yet come back to Australia. We’re experiencing a lack of skilled migrant workers, who play a key part in the Australian freight industry.

The Impact of Freight Industry Staffing Shortages in Australia.

What do the ongoing people shortages mean for your freight?

With more freight moving through the network than ever before, the people shortage is contributing to delays and increased freight costs.

Freight Delays

While we’ve seen some improvement, one of the biggest frustrations caused by the staffing shortage is delays.

And not just delays to the delivery of freight, but also in the flow of information.

Particularly during seasonal periods of high demand, there’s nobody in customer service to communicate about damaged freight, or load freight from one vehicle to another, or notify that a pick-up won’t happen because there’s no trucks available.

This leads to a very reactive situation, where you’re putting out fires, and managing issues, instead of being able to proactively manage your freight.

Increased Freight Costs

The high demand on the freight network has seen the cost of interstate drivers and interstate trucks go up, which in turn has increased overall freight costs.

At the peak of the pandemic, freight bookings went to the highest bidder. While the situation is no longer quite this dramatic, freight costs are remaining high thanks to ongoing skilled worker challenges, paired with ever-increasing fuel costs

How Your Business can Maintain Freight Performance through the Skills Shortage.

While the skills shortage continues to impact Australian freight, there are some things you can do to keep costs down and ensure your freight arrives on time.

Increase Lead Times During Seasonal Demand

Whenever there’s seasonal demand on the network, delays can happen.

But with the added challenge of staffing shortages, you need to be even more prepared.

If your business is shipping for Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Back-to-School or any other peak period, planning ahead is crucial.

During these periods, you can’t take a carrier at their word on ETAs.

Anticipate what your freight volumes will be as far ahead as possible so you can complete production in time, and dispatch earlier allowing more time for delivery.

Understand Current ETAs

Understanding what's happening in the network at any given time will allow you to be realistic about the ETAs you’re being given by carriers.

Remember that the network can be disrupted by things other than a lack of staff. Floods, fire and train derailments are just some of the other challenges that can cause freight delays.

Using predictive analytics to generate more accurate ETAs will help you be prepared, and manage the expectations of your customers.

Managing Customer Expectations

When it comes to delays, managing customer expectations early will ensure you maintain strong customer relationships.

Manage their expectations around delivery from the start, by understanding current ETAs, especially around peak periods.

Make sure you communicate about any delays early and proactively.

Track your Freight Costs

When you know what your freight is costing you, you’ll be better able to find ways to save money.

Good freight management software will allow you to analyse freight costs based on location, freight type, customer and other parameters.

Check up on these costs regularly, so you can explore more efficient solutions for your freight requirements, and reduce freight costs.

It’s still possible to Effectively Manage your Freight

Things might never return to the normal we knew before COVID. We don’t know when immigration will pick up, bringing migrant workers back into Australia, and the freight landscape is changing constantly with new technology, and increased demand.

But even while there’s a shortage of staff in the Australian freight industry, things are still moving.

If you plan ahead for seasonal peaks, take the time to understand real-time ETAs and manage customer expectations, then you’ll be able to work proactively to avoid and reduce the risk of freight delays.

The Freight People Advantage

Partnering with an experienced freight broker will help you manage the challenge of the ongoing staffing shortages in Australian freight.

With more than 30 years in the business, Freight People know Australian freight, and have relationships with hundreds of carriers Australia-wide.

We can work with you to optimise your entire end-to-end freight process, with smart freight management technology, streamlined processes and the buying power to negotiate better freight prices.

If you want to transform the way your business does freight, get in touch with our team today.