Greed at the heart of chain of responsibility breaches: Endycott

By: Steve Skinner

NSW road compliance boss says trucking companies are having to quote ever lower spiralling prices to gain work.

Greed at the heart of chain of responsibility breaches: Endycott
Paul Endycott wants trucking companies to speak up if they believe they have been forced into an unfair contract.


Cutthroat rates are the cause of a lot of chain of responsibility (COR) problems in New South Wales, the head of heavy vehicle compliance in the state says.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) general manager for compliance operations Paul Endycott says customers and freight forwarders are holding downward auctions, with operators quoting ever lower spiralling prices to do the job.

"I (the customer) bid, none of the big companies will jump into that and it keeps falling, so who is going to jump in? This guy, bang," Endycott tells Owner//Driver.

"’I don’t know whether I’m paying for the diesel, I’m going to drive all  night, I’m going to crack my truck to make it go faster, and then I’m on the gear, because I can’t stay awake, because I’ve bid at the lowest dollar to get that work.

"Now is that inducing a risk of speed and fatigue? My bloody oath it is, in my opinion. What I need to do is have a look at the contractual arrangements between those two companies to see if there’s enough fat in it to do the job."

Endycott is urging companies that believe they have been forced into an unfair contract to get in touch with the RMS so it can take a look at it.

"I’ve been asking people for a long time send me their contracts. Do I have the power to demand it? No, because it may not be about a heavy vehicle and its load," he says.

Owner//Driver asked Endycott if there is a clause in COR legislation that says customers aren’t allowed to screw an operator on price.

"It says a company’s business practices cannot induce a breach of speed, fatigue or those other things," he replies.

"So if the contract says you’ll do Sydney to Melbourne for $500 … once we have the information we’re more than happy to ask any questions about it; it’s whether people want to answer the questions or not."

In other words, this seems to be a grey area in the law that Endycott says "needs to open up so it allows us to look at these contractual arrangements and give us the power to get in there and look at this stuff".

"If you (the customer or forwarder) are inducing the 10 per centers … that really are forced into it … this is why I’m hitting the DCs (distribution centres)," Endycott says.

He defines DCs as not just those belonging to the giant retailers, but any big or small inbound or outbound warehouse or terminal that loads or unloads trucks.

"It’s the sweet spot for us," he says.

"It’s about how do we control hundreds of operators with going to just one entity.

"Do operators get scooped up in it? Normally they are the trigger for the intervention. They’re going to lose some skin in it too, they have to, because they’re not obeying the law either.

Endycott says he is also watching DC company board decisions "because if it influences breaches on the road, they’ll commit the offence".

You can read more about chain of responsibility in NSW in the May edition of Owner//Driver.

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