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Weekly COVID-19 Update: Everything vessels, vehicles and gear

During these unprecedented times, we’re giving you weekly updates on how COVID-19 is impacting everything to do with vessels, vehicles and gear.

In this week’s edition we outline:

  • The ATA’s discussion with the Ombudsman on unfair payment terms for trucking businesses;
  • The increase in tractor sales due to the increased Instant Asset Write Off threshold;
  • The new cargo term “preighters” and what it means for airlines;
  • The CTAA’s Emergency Space Register for shipping containers warehousing and storage ; and
  • The latest truck sales numbers from the Truck Industry Council.


  • Our partners at the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) are working with stevedore Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) and Bushfire Recovery Victoria to help those who lost homes and outbuildings during the Summer bushfires.  As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the recovery of many affected communities.  The VTA is calling on support from transport operators to transport 50 new 20-foot shipping containers to properties in Gippsland and North-East Victoria to safely store building materials.
  • Figures on Australian truck sales for April have been released, showing a continued fall in commercial vehicles sales totals, month on month.  According to the Truck Industry Council, April saw 2,303 sales, down from March’s 2,605 and February’s 2,448.  This is the worst monthly figure since 2014. 
  • Our partners at the Australian Truck Association (ATA) have called on the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to address the impact of unfair payment terms on small trucking businesses.  ATA CEO, Ben Maguire, said that payment terms are an existing problem for truckies, but some customers of trucking businesses have started extending payment terms to address their own cash flow issues.  Some suppliers are also shortening credit terms (eg. From end of month plus 30 days payment, to invoice plus 14 days payment). 
  • Supermarket company, Woolworths, is distributing care packages to truck drivers who deliver to their distribution centres and stores.  The 4000 packages are a way to thank truckies for helping keep the additional volume of stock flowing into distribution centres and stores. 
  • NTI Representatives have continued to participate in the Federal Government’s Land Transport Industry meeting.  The focus on this group has now turned to planning for the easing of restrictions.

Marine and Cargo

  • Our friends at the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) have begun compiling an Emergency Space Register with information about spare full container storage or warehousing capacity available across Australia in the event that it may be needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Register will be made available widely by CTAA throughout the container logistics supply chain in all States, in conjunction with representative bodies such as Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA). 
  • With airlines hurting from travel restrictions, one bright spot is air freight.  Lufthansa has revealed their freighter fleet is in operation and has carried out some 70 cargo flights on passenger aircraft – or “preighters”. NTI has also received reports of QANTAS converting a number of their passenger aircraft to full freighters by removing the seats etc.
  • Thousands of seafarers remain trapped at sea on containerships and other cargo vessels by COVID-19 travel restrictions.  According to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the number of seafarers in need of a crew change will reach 150,000 by 15th May, and is a threat to supply chains.
  • Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL) is releasing regular updates to its Border Closures Table.  To access the resource, click here and enter your details.  You will then receive an email every time the table is updated with new information.

Construction and Equipment

  • has released a guide to answer the top questions from operators on how the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off (IAWO) initiative can help them. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Aussie farmers from purchasing new tractors, with the latest sales report by the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia (TMA) showing sales have increased by 40% year-on-year, now sitting 7% head on a year-to-date basis.  The TMA attributes the increase to improved weather prospects along with the increase in the Instant Asset Write Off program.  

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