Forestry specialist, C3, is adapting to the challenges of the current new world environment with vigilance by updating its equipment and keeping its people informed and safe.
Part of the LINX Cargo Care Group of companies, C3 operates across Australia and New Zealand.
Its Esperance site in Western Australia has, as it seeks to service a new contract, recently purchased five new MAN TGS540 vehicles that are gradually coming on line as of this week.
With two in-field chipping systems for processing logs to woodchips in place for the Esperance operations, each system, in accordance with the business model, is supported by three running trucks to deliver the woodchips to the customer’s facility.
Eventually when all the procured assets are delivered there will be ten new MAN commercial vehicles in operation according to Trevor Els C3 Asset Manager – Forestry Equipment.
"As our Esperance team have been successful in winning another contract, we're going to be moving product from the holding facility down to the port where the ship loading takes place. We're also handling the transport and logistics for another woodchip exporter at the same location which means putting in more trucks," he said.
The fleet in Esperance, which includes a few Freightliner Coronados, is fully kitted out with power take off (PTO) hauling trailers that are either built to tilt or with a walking floor to suit the port infrastructure.
As the MAN trucks feature the latest suite of active safety functions and enhanced driver comfortability, they have proven a popular choice with C3’s commercial vehicle operators.
The team at C3, in response to COVID-19, have taken an active role in ensuring the strictest hygiene levels are adhered to, where possible, in daily operations.
"Most of our drivers in Albany are over 50 and they’re taking it seriously," said Els.
"It's the older guys leading the way and showing the younger guys, and the fitters and mechanics what it means to not only the team but the wider community. Now with new laws being brought in everyone is realising the immensity of the situation and the drivers are showing the way in what needs to be done.
"Our drivers have been really proactive and are motivating the younger employees. They're interested and engaged in all the changes as they come to hand. They're educating others on what to do, how to wipe down the cab and the key if you're handing it over to someone at a workshop," he said.
C3 is providing masks and hand sanitiser to all its operators who are even going into the field when they pick up a load and talking to the crews and trying to motivate them to be vigilant and accountable in adhering to new hygiene practices.
"It's been impressive and really pleasing," said Els.
Els said the company had invested much time and strategy into its risk mitigation in regard to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Across the group we will look to monitor the ongoing advice of the government and continue to model our plan and controlling actions ahead of those activities,” he said. “It’s very fluid now but we’re responding as a business on an individual basis, ensuring that our decision making is based on the safety of our employees, their families our customers and communities during this unprecedented event."
As many transport and logistics companies are frantically trying to keep up with burgeoning demand for goods and products as supermarket shelves are emptying seemingly as fast as they being restocked, keeping the interconnected supply chain flowing, without interruption, has never been more crucial to scales of economy and blue collar workers across the country.
Vehicle teams at C3, which are sometimes five strong, have been reduced to pairs in the interests of limiting employee interactions. Office staff are also working remotely as part of its new social distancing policy.
Shifts are now split across the week to ensure staff still get their 40 hours a week.
Even in the dynamic situation of a nationwide pandemic, essential staff are required in the field to keep these critical operations running.
Australian forest product industries supply essential freight and services such as timber for housing construction, kerbside recycling services, manufacturing toilet paper and tissues and, in addition, carboard packaging for supermarket and retail home deliveries.
This week the Australian Forestry Products Association Chief Executive, Ross Hampton, issued a statement that said it was important that all levels of government understood that many of the essential products and services that communities will continue to need throughout the Covid-19 crisis were contingent on the continued operation of much of the forest industries.
"It is not possible to close down one sector without impacting on another," said Hampton. “Our industry has been proactive in implementing risk mitigation measures to minimise the risk of Covid-19 across our supply chains, and we will continue to act in accordance with the latest health advice."
This is a time, according to Hampton, for all Australians to work together.
"The Forest Products Industry will proudly work with all governments to get through this crisis," he said. "But governments must recognise that what the industry provides is a necessity, not a luxury.”