Oi! You! Yes, you! Put down that pie! Drop that sugary drink! Cast away that cake! It’s time for Australian truck drivers to learn the about joys of salad and the ecstasy of exercise.
Researchers have found that the vast majority of Australian truck drivers have terrible eating habits and they don’t exercise. Also in Down Under Trucking: Kiwis race ahead with clean transport options and a shocker slump in revenues and profits for trailer maker MaxiTRANS as the world’s economy becomes increasing adverse.
Vast majority of Aussie truck drivers are either fat or obese
Australian truckers are an unhealthy bunch, it seems. About 90% have a body mass index (that’s a blubber-to-bone-and-muscle ratio) above the generally recommended levels. About 60% are obese, according to research by academics at the School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology in the Australian State of Queensland.
“This is almost double the proportion found in the general population,” the researchers wrote in their paper “Truckies’ Nutrition and Physical Activity: A Cross-sectional Survey in Queensland, Australia.” The paper was written by Marguerite C. Sendall, Laura K. McCosker, Rahma Ahmed and Phil Crane.
More than 85% of respondents to a survey distributed by the researchers indicated that truckers work more than nine hours a day. About 75% acknowledged they need to make changes to improve their health. Half of the truckers ate less than the recommended portions of fruit and 88% ate less than the nationally recommended servings of vegetables. More than 63% ate at least one serving of unhealthy food each day and 65% drink at least one can of sugary drink every day. About 80% do less physical activity than official recommended.
“Truck drivers’ work environments are characterized by long sedentary hours and erratic schedules and time pressures, with few opportunities to access healthy food options or environments conducive to physical activity. As a result, truck drivers are consistently identified as being at increased risk of diet- and physical activity-related chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers noted that truckers have limited access to grocery stores and truck stops tend to offer food high in saturated fat. They also observed that most truck cabs lack the equipment necessary to store and prepare healthy foods.
“It is easier for drivers to eat conveniently wrapped take-away foods than healthier food options such as salads,” the paper noted.
The researchers also observed that truckers may drive up to 12 hours a day, often uninterrupted, and that the are often confined to their trucks. Workplace policies often forbid trucker for leaving predefined areas.
“Not surprisingly, drivers do not consider transport industry workplaces to be conducive to physical activity,” the researchers noted.
About 209,000 people work as truck drivers in Australia — about 1.62% of the whole Australian workforce. The survey was completed by 231 truck drivers; 99.1% were male, and they had a mean age of 46.
Kiwi’s race ahead with the renewable clean transport economy
While Australia continues to not take action on adapting to clean energy technologies, much to the ire of its regional neighbours, our Kiwi cousins across the ditch are investing in transport clean tech.
New Zealand has funded numerous projects, in association with the private sector, over multiple funding rounds from its Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.
Announcing the sixth round of funding, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said “29 low-emissions vehicle projects are being granted funding through the latest round of the Government’s Low Emission’s Vehicles Contestable Fund. These grants will include $4.5 million of government funding, matched by $12 million from the private sector. This, the largest round of funding delivered so far, shows how our smart investments in low-emissions vehicles can unlock extra funding from the private sector. Smart investments like this are why under this government the number of electric vehicles on our roads has nearly tripled. In October 2017, we had 5,363 registered EVs compared to 15,453 now.”
Projects include a NZ$318,500 investment to install three fast direct current and three standard alternating current electric vehicle chargers at various locations near Christchurch on the South Island. “The project [plugs] an important gap in the electric vehicle charging network and [provides] options for a range of electric vehicle types,” the official statement says.
A variety of other projects have received a range of funds to install charging stations at a variety of single-site locations or, alternatively, funds have been allocated to install chargers alongside roads so as to create an electric-power route.
But it’s not all about installing charging stations. There are several heavy electric truck programmes too. About NZ$229,000 has been allocated to large-scale civil construction company Dempsey Wood to buy two heavy electric trucks in a pilot programme. One truck will be a tipper trucker and the other will be fitted with an attenuator for a traffic safety vehicle. “Few HEVs currently operate in the construction industry, and this trial will help to establish their viability and gain high visibility for the results,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, retailer The Warehouse Group has been allocated NZ$257,287 to lease four electric trucks to demonstrate the capability of such trucks for daily home deliveries. Each truck will drive more than 250 kilometers a day and will visit up to 4,000 customers a year. The Warehouse Group has separately committed to changing 30% of its vehicles to electric by the end of the year.
Other projects include Blackwell Motors being granted NZ$115,425 for a wholly electric Isuzu truck that the company will loan to clients so that they can carry out their own trials. KAM Transport has been granted NZ$150,000 to replace a 24-tonne diesel truck that transports chilled and frozen products to restaurants and wholesalers with an electric Isuzu truck. “The project will help KAM Transport identify how and when to electrify its fleet of over 30 trucks.”
There are also numerous other electric vehicle-related projects that have received funding.
Shocker slump in revenues and profits for MaxiTRANS
Trailer maker MaxiTRANS has reported poor financial results for the 2018-19 financial year, with a fall in revenues of 14% down to A$352 million (US$237.96 million). Net profit after tax declined from an A$10 million profit to a A$17.7 million loss.
Australia’s financial year runs from July to June. At the time of writing, one Australian dollar equals US$0.68.
MaxiTRANS blames weak economic conditions throughout the Australian economy for having an adverse effect on its results. In the second half of the financial year, underlying business in the commercial vehicle spare parts market was 5 to 10% below the prior corresponding period in the second half of the 2018 financial year.
“This resulted in H2 FY2019 trailer sales being 100-150 units below expectations,” the company said.
Looking forward, the company said that despite a small improvement in confidence after the recent general election, economic conditions “remain difficult.”