Victorian NSW border closure: Truck, freight companies not slowed down since closure

Truckies are still truckin' on despite tough border controls

THE Victorian border might be firmly closed but it's not impacting deliveries and freight, truckies say.

With coronavirus cases continuing to in Victoria, police and the Defence Force have been stationed at border control check points since Wednesday.

Burke's Transport owner Graeme Burke sends five B-double trucks from Bathurst in NSW to Victoria each day with another five making the return trip north, and so far there's been no problems.

"There's been no hiccups with it whatsoever," he said.

"They're just flagging the trucks straight through."

Mr Burke has applied for NSW border entry permits for each of his drivers, but because freight has been deemed an 'essential service' so far they haven't had to use them.

NO PROBLEMS: Burke's Transport owner Graeme Burke said his trucks haven't been delayed by the closure of the Victorian-NSW border. Photo: BRADLEY JURD

NO PROBLEMS: Burke's Transport owner Graeme Burke said his trucks haven't been delayed by the closure of the Victorian-NSW border. Photo: BRADLEY JURD

Dubbo haulage and freight company Rod Pilon Transport has also given the border closures the thumbs up.

"Obviously the drivers were a little worried, but we're supplying face masks and hand sanitiser," general manager Ben Pilon said.

"We've had no issues so far."

While Ron Finemore Transport has had no issues at border crossings either, another Orange based company, Whites Transport, has.

Owner Kelvin White said on Wednesday one of his drivers was forced to take a 1.5 hour detour because the border crossing at Tooleybuc was closed with no traffic allowed through.

NO ENTRY: The border crossing at Tooleybuc was closed with no traffic allowed through on Wednesday. Photo: SUPPLIED

NO ENTRY: The border crossing at Tooleybuc was closed with no traffic allowed through on Wednesday. Photo: SUPPLIED

"Our truck was going from Orange to Adelaide and you cut through Victoria," he said.

"We had to turn around and go back to through Mildura ... they should have had a sign up saying it was closed 60 kilometres back."

Mr White said his driver reported that police said they had turned around another 40 trucks from the same border crossing that day.

"It obviously could have been handled better," he said.

Ron Finemore Transport might have its head office in Wodonga near the Victorian-NSW border, but its Orange distribution centre is a hub for many of its 260 vehicles.

"We transport food and fuel, both of which are considered essential," managing director Mark Parry said.

NO PROBLEMS: Rod Pilon Transport general manager Ben Pilon and truck driver Rod Hannifey haven't been held up at the border. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

NO PROBLEMS: Rod Pilon Transport general manager Ben Pilon and truck driver Rod Hannifey haven't been held up at the border. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

"There's been very little disruption or delays at the border.

"At Wodonga there's separate access for trucks and cars."

The freight companies also praised their staff for how well they handled the widespread workplace changes since the pandemic hit.

Mr Parry said none of Finemore's 600 employees have tested positive to the virus and increased hygiene had become "part of our every day".

"We've got a COVID-19 safe plan and all of our drivers get temperature checks every day and they clean their trucks out at the beginning and end of each shift," he said.

ON THE ROAD: Ron Finemore Transport transport food and fuel and managing director Mark Parry said the border closure hasn't been a problem. Photo: SUPPLIED

ON THE ROAD: Ron Finemore Transport transport food and fuel and managing director Mark Parry said the border closure hasn't been a problem. Photo: SUPPLIED

Cleaning of vehicles and depots at Burke's Transport has also ramped up since COVID-19 began in March and he has praised his 80 staff for their compliance.

"People have really upped the ante with regards to personal hygiene ... I think the education program has really worked well," he said.

Mr Pilon said the company's 100 staff have coped with the changes to workplace practices really well since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

MAP: Where is Tooleybuc on the Victorian-NSW border?

This story Truckies are still truckin' on despite tough border controls first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.