Now - you can have your say via the Independent Road Transport Forum (IRTF)
For two years there has been talk in various circles about the formation of an Independent Road Transport Forum - the IRTF you may say - and now the talk is over. We are going ahead and launching it under the banner of
FleetWatch as the first stage of what we envisage to develop into an Independent Chamber - or Guild - of Road Transportation. Or maybe we just call it simply the
FleetWatch Truckers Club/Guild.
The idea of - and need for - such a Forum was put under the spotlight by independent road transport consultant Max Braun at the last Transport Legislation Workshop convened by Alta Swanepoel and Associates where the response from delegates - from all walks of road transportation - was extremely positive with most indicating their interest in and support for the formation of an IRTF.
Purely by co-incidence, FleetWatch had been toying with the idea of a 'Truckers Club' for some time and the idea of the Forum ideally tied in as one of the components of the envisaged 'Club'. Thus the link and we're pleased to say that Max Braun will be intimately involved with
FleetWatch in the formation and running of the Forum - and later the full activities of the 'Truckers Club' as it develops and grows.
That said, you may well ask: "Does the Road Transport industry need another 'organised' group? Who wants such a body when role-players and stakeholders have access to a several associations supported by various special interest groups including for-reward truckers, passenger bus operators, road transport engineers, vehicle rental, taxis, road construction and so on?" Valid questions - but then...
Road Transport in South Africa is diverse and dynamic impacting daily on the lives of the nation and virtually every aspect of the economy. National prosperity is intrinsically linked to efficient road transportation and yet there is no single body representing - or giving a voice to - all the interests of road transport in all its facets. Historically, organised transport groups tend to pursue the interests and agenda of their memberships. Over years there have been few examples of broad-based vision to foster, protect and preserve the national importance of road transportation regardless of its speciality or niche. Regrettably, organised groups that have survived over time are generally not regarded as representative of the intrinsic diversity of the industry.
The result of this is that road transport is still widely regarded as the Cinderella of the economy - and this despite the vital role it plays in keeping the very wheels of the economy moving. As
FleetWatch has stated in the past, road transport is, without doubt, the most underrated sector in the country. Its strategic role in the well-being of the entire country remains unrecognized - and this by politicians, the business community and the man-in-the-street. The time has come to change that. The time has come to elevate road transport in its entirety - not just long haul - to its rightful position of importance and the first step in doing so is the launch of the
Independent Road Transport Forum (IRTF).
So what will an independent forum do and what can it do that others cannot do or are already doing?
As mentioned, the notion of an Independent Road Transport Forum contemplates a concept that could equate towards the formation of a "Chamber or Guild of Road Transportation" in that it would strive to bring together the strength and expertise of all individual road transporters, and this especially so when it is necessary for the industry to focus on problems and issues confronting any vital aspect of road transportation. It gives a voice to all transporters across the entire spectrum of road transportation on issues that are common to all.
There must be many more questions and answers both for and against the idea of an IRTF. Let's hear your ideas. And watch this space for details of - for want of a better name - the
FleetWatch Truckers Club - or should it be Guild. What do you think about all of this? Let's hear from you.
And if you have a gripe or want to sound off about anything that is on your mind, use this IRTF web site to do so. You might have something you want to put forward about road safety, hijacking, the lack of parking along the N3, insurance issues, driver hours, driver health, product support or some legislation issue. Whatever you want to put forward, go for it. This is your Forum so use it. We've made it easy to use so simply write your comments on the prepared form and click on the submit button. It's that easy. We will also periodically be introducing various topical issues for discussion under the IRTF banner on the site. When we do, we urge you to join the debate.
The time for road transport to take its rightful and well deserved position of importance in South Africa has come. Let's just do it!