Supermarkets pay tribute to hardworking truck drivers


IF YOU went looking for even some of the essentials in your local supermarket a few weeks ago you were probably faced with more empty shelves than full ones.

I can speak from personal experience that it was a scary situation trying to ensure there was enough food in the cupboard for the family for a week, a fortnight, maybe a month?

None of us knew what was going to happen.

But through all the madness, the panic buying, the rumours, and the doubt a big contingent of workers just rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job, in particular, Australia’s truck drivers.

We thought we’d make contact with the big three supermarket chains in Australia and get an update on how their vital transport and logistics networks are holding up as we all make our way through (hopefully) the worst of the COVID-19 dramas.

All three supermarkets took the opportunity to thank the truck drivers who have gone the extra mile to help keep Australia fed.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Big Rigs that the unprecedented demand seen in their stores prompted the chain to increase their workforce by up to 20 per cent in a very short amount of time.

Many of the new Woolies employees were tasked with stocking the shelves with goods that had come in from the ramped-up delivery schedules facilitated by the hardworking truckies.

“To support the significant increase in our volume across the network we have been working with both our existing and new carrier partners to bring additional transport equipment in to support the task.

“Our transport carriers and their drivers continue to offer great support during this period.

”We’ve had a number of carriers reach out to us offering additional support given our increased volume and our efforts have been supported by the state governments who lifted curfews for our deliveries to stores.

“Something that hasn’t changed for us is that the safety of our team members and the community is still our number one priority.”

A Coles spokesperson said demand in their stores is up 40 per cent on even the traditionally busiest time of year – the lead up to Christmas.

“Our supply chain team has worked incredibly hard over the past six weeks to move stock into our stores.

“To accommodate the unprecedented demand, the operating hours of all factories, suppliers, distribution centres and transport operators have been greatly extended.

“In the past month we have added four pop-up warehouses to our supply chain network to enable us to distribute even more groceries to our stores and organised for some suppliers of high-demand items to deliver direct to stores.”

One thing that is helping get the deliveries through, according to the Coles spokesperson, is the lower traffic volumes seen on Aussie roads.

“Due to the volume increase the number of drivers and vehicles has increased, however thanks to reduced congestion from people staying home, there have been fewer motorists on the roads.

“We have worked closely with Linfox and our other transport partners to ensure driver fatigue is managed appropriately.”

Some of the 12,000 new Coles workers added to the roster are Coles Online Delivery van drivers.

“This has helped with the Coles Online Priority Service, supporting our most vulnerable customers and communities by ensuring they are able to access everyday grocery essentials, particularly those who find it difficult to shop in-store.” the spokesperson said.

An ALDI spokesperson also made mention of the great work being done by the guys and girls that keep the stock flowing into ALDI stores nationwide.

“Increased shopper demand across our store network has naturally had an impact on the

operations of our supply chain.

“All of our employees have a critical part to play at this time, including our transport operators.

As the need for support across our Distribution Centres has increased, we have recruited

additional transport operators.

“We are thankful for our team of Transport Operators, who have ensured the accessibility of groceries for all Australians.”

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