Truckies hit by hailstorms

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian
Rick and Ian Rackham.
Camera IconRick and Ian Rackham. Credit: The West Australian

The transport industry is a forgotten victim of last week's devastating hailstorms.

Some truck drivers in the Central Wheatbelt say they will lose thousands of tonnes of cartage contracts this harvest.

The hailstorm two weekends ago wiped out crops in the Shires of Dowerin, Wyalkatchem, Tammin and Kellerberrin, and while farmers can insure against hail damage, transport operators can't insure against loss of business as a result of bad weather.

Rick Rackham, who runs Dowerin Bulk Transport with father Ian, estimated his company could lose thousands of tonnes of grain cartage work as a result of the storm.

"We reckon we could be down around $50,000 in cartage this year as a result of that bad weather," Mr Rackham said. A significant proportion of the damage appeared to be to canola crops in the Dowerin Shire, much of which is taken to either the Avon bins or the Metro Grain Centre, he said.

Losing these long haulage contracts was going to be a big financial impost on his business this season.

"This could be a solid two weeks work for two of our trucks that we will be missing out on," he said.

Dowerin Bulk Transport runs 10 trucks, four of which are exclusively used for grain haulage, and it employs 18 people.

"Farmers can insure against hail, but we can't insure against lost income," Mr Rackham said.

Other transport contractors in the area will also be impacted, with reported damage from the storm covering thousands of hectares of cropping land.

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