SMS saves southern fruit markets after SOS from truckies

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 11th January 2011

SMS is proving to be an invaluable tool for truckies navigating the flooded road system between Cairns and Brisbane, and ensuring North Queensland fruit makes it to southern markets.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said the State Government had established an SMS update service to instantly get the latest road closure information to truck drivers on the road.

“On New Year’s Eve five refrigerated transporting companies had about 50 semi-trailers loaded with bananas, other tropical fruit and dairy products destined for southern markets,” Mr Mulherin said.

“With the highway to be blocked off at Rockhampton, they were desperate to find routes south but once on the road it’s difficult for truckies to easily gain accurate information about which roads are closed and where.

“Using SMS we have been able to instantly get the latest transport intelligence to them as it comes to hand from the State Disaster Coordination Centre.

“Even with the fluctuating flood levels we can give them details on road closures so they are able to improve their decisions about when and where they are going.

“This innovative approach is allowing fresh produce to still get to market, benefiting producers and consumers.”

Mr Mulherin said the information was being shared with eight major transport companies who then passed it on to primary producers and markets.

“The transport companies are able to pass that information on through their networks,” Mr Mulherin said.

“Producers are then able to plan if and when they should be picking and packing their produce, and the markets know when they can expect deliveries.”

The companies include Blenners, JAT, HAACK, Geoff Richards Transport, Lindsay Bros, CLC, Atlas Haulage and Schmidt’s Livestock Transport.

Mr Mulherin said after the current crisis the system will be consolidated and expanded for use in future situations.