What We Need To Know For Touring The World In 2019
– What You Need To Know For Touring The World In 2019
From left: Jake Berry, Adam Hatton, Steve Gruning, Mark Guterres, Wayne Linder and Joerg Philipp
Jake Berry, CEO, Jake Berry Productions
Adam Hatton, MD, Global Motion
Steve Gruning, VP Global Marketing & Sales, SOS Global Express
Mark Guterres, MD, Transam Trucking Ltd
Wayne Linder, Leasing Manager, Pioneer Coach
Joerg Philipp, owner, Beat The Street
The panel dealt with Brexit and other government regulations that may or may not affect the worldwide touring business in the future. As it turned out, none of the panelists was too worried about Britain leaving the European Union, but agreed that other developments in live entertainment were far more threatening to business than Brexit.
Even in the worst case, a no-deal Brexit, an administrative framework for touring artists and shipping equipment would be in place.
Tariffs are being charged and carnets need to be filled out even today when entering certain territories, so not much would change in a post-Brexit world. Panelists mused that it would most likely resemble the procedure one underwent when entering Canada from the U.S.
What concerned panelists the most was the incompetence of the British government in delivering a smooth Brexit. Which is why Guterres moved parts of his UK fleet to Holland and the Republic of Ireland. “The first fleet left for Holland this morning and will be receiving new license plates”, he said, but made it clear that it was a mere precaution.
“It will be nothing more than an inconvenience,” Hatton concluded the Brexit debate, adding that there was something that actually worried him about the future of touring, namely “the compression of timelines on tours.”
Hatton explained how more and more tour dates are being squeezed into ever shorter touring periods in order to save costs like hotels, wages and per diems. This led to a situation that allowed no room for error.
“Nine times out of ten, aircrafts take off when they’re supposed to, and it all works beautifully. But when they don’t, there is no plan b,” he said.
The Brexit discussion sparked a general analysis of the “shittiest places to move gear into.” The panel unanimously chose China and India, two countries that made visitors jump through an enormous amount of regulatory hoops.
It was still possible to tour those markets, it just took longer to secure the necessary paperwork. Which was why Hatton recommended that conversations between the hauling companies and management or agents should begin as early as possible.
What You Need To Know For Touring The World In 2019What You Need To Know For Touring The World In 2019From left: Jake Berry, Adam Hatton, Steve Gruning, Mark Guterres, Wayne Linder and Joerg Philipp
– Jake Berry
CEO of Jake Berry Productions
Domestically, the panel mostly revolved around the latest U.S. regulations for truckers, which made the use of electronic logging devices mandatory just over a year ago.
The aim is to track drivers’ hours and not have them overwork themselves. Linder said the implementation of the regulations was going well, and that tour managers were receiving them well.
Linder’s company is offering its drivers more money than they used to earn by offering all-in rates. “No more are there discussion about overdrives and clean fees, this charge and that charge. Tour managers simply pay the driver for the amount of days they are going. There’s one rate, and that driver will do the [10 hour] DOT limit for that day for that rate”, which is $335 at Pioneer Coach.
Linder said tour managers used to complain that they got charged for an overdrive for just a few miles over the limit. It created an uncomfortable situation between drivers and the tour managers.
In Europe, bus drivers usually sleep inside their vehicles to save accommodation costs. Buses are equipped accordingly. The panel agreed that the U.S. model, where drivers slept in hotels, was the preferable one.
There was a general shortage of drivers across the world, said Guterres. He said drivers needed so many qualifications these days, most of which need to be renewed every year that just to get a driver trained cost a lot of money. “It is so expensive that the younger people, which are the ones we want, simply can’t afford to get their license,” he said.
Drivers in the UK haulage industry even require a certificate of professional competence now, which used to be required from the people running the haulage companies.
Berry raised the issue of self-driving vehicles and whether they would affect this industry. None of the panels could see drivers being completely replaced on tour. Linder emphasized that drivers often faced littler things that were wrong with the truck.
Philipp thought the future reality would probably lie somewhere in-between: a driver monitoring an autopilot on highways and long monotonous stretches of road.