A dedicated heavy vehicle checkpoint on the Hume Freeway would reduce border crossing delays, according to one freight carrier.
North Albury-based Plummer's Freight owner Nick Plummer said it was important to ensure fast passage for transport operators.
"For people running from Melbourne to Sydney, they can't wait for an hour and a half in the line," he said.
"Our everyday routes are Melbourne, Canberra, Griffith, and Wagga, as well as areas like Rutherglen and Wangaratta, so we do cross the border quite a bit."
NSW Police is flexibly managing key routes, diverting cars onto the Lincoln Causeway or the freeway depending on traffic, but the approach caused issues for transport operators on Thursday evening.
TRAFFIC ALERT— North East Scanner (@nescanner) July 9, 2020
Traffic is banked up on the Lincoln Causeway from the #Albury#borderclosure checkpoint all the way to railway underpass near Hume Hwy exit.
Heavy vehicles also banked up from Melrose Drv exit along the Hume Hwy. Expect long delays. #COVID19Vic#COVID19Aus
Heavy vehicles were queued from the border checkpoint at South Albury to the Melrose Drive overpass as cars came onto the freeway via Bandiana Link.
Frustrated truckies were communicating via UHF with traffic controllers, who directed some vehicles onto the Lincoln Causeway - but many were unable to take the exit.
Mr Plummer said more management of traffic at the freeway and creating a dedicated checkpoint for heavy vehicles would alleviate the pressure.
"They could make a lane of the freeway for trucks, it just makes sense," he said.
"It's mostly around managing the traffic; it would make everybody's lives easier."
The delays followed confusion over permits.
"When the closure was announced, we called RMS straight away, and the specialist we got transferred to literally told us 'We found out when the news story hit - we had no idea'," Mr Plummer said.
"He said, 'To be honest, I can't tell you what we're going to do, because we don't know yet'.
"As a business, we didn't know if we could run to Melbourne the next day; it would have been good if they had planned it slightly better.
"We gave the drivers letters, and with a bit of common sense, you got around it OK."
Transport Workers Union Victoria and Tasmania branch secretary John Berger said some operators were issued a 'type B' border declaration permit, which directed recipients to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to NSW.
Correspondence from Transport for NSW on Thursday advised that would be changed.
"After reviewing the criteria for critical services permits yesterday, NSW will be creating an additional permit," it said.
The permit - to go live on Thursday, the correspondence said - would allow freight and transport industry workers to cross the border without having to self-isolate, if their employer had a COVID-19 safety plan.
On Friday afternoon, workers were able to select 'critical services - movement of freight or persons on a commercial basis' for a permit from Service NSW.
"We have had some correspondence from the state government that they weren't going to issue any fines or proceedings for people who were in breach of those permits [truck drivers not self-isolating]," Mr Berger said.
"We've got the added problem now of the QLD border where they are saying no Victorians can come in, and we're trying to get to the bottom of what their requirements are."
Mr Berger said in some cases, trucks were being stopped at the Victoria-NSW border, and were not being stopped in other cases.
"Reports are that you can get waved through and you can get stopped," he said.
"It's at the discretion of the authorities as to how they want to check things.
"Most of our drivers understand the cause, and they are very patient.
"The real issue will probably come to light with our owner-drivers - they get paid by the load - and whether or not they are penalised for not meeting deadlines is yet to be seen."
Mr Berger said trucks displaying a sticker that could be easily sighted, and only those without that sticker being stopped, was the ideal situation.
"I find it strange they've been operating with closed borders between NSW and Queensland for some months, what is the difference between that and this border?" he said.
"This is going to go on for a period of time, and we need consistency across all states.
"You have all types of transport, whether it be carting fuel, livestock or perishable goods, and if for any reason that stops, we will see the impacts."
Mr Plummer hoped the flow of traffic would continue to improve over time, with his team being busier than ever during the pandemic.
"People are definitely changing their habits - there is more delivery," he said.
"We haven't seen a downturn, we're lucky in our game. So many people aren't."
IN OTHER NEWS:
A NSW spokeswoman said Operation Border Control was unprecedented and designed to facilitate border movements, not impede them.
"The operation has been a success so far, with thousands of vehicle movements facilitated every hour," she said.
"Given its unprecedented nature, it is dynamic and constantly evolving, and police are constantly assessing the operation with a view to being flexible with our resources on the ground.
"This includes consideration being given to the location of vehicle checkpoints and hard closures as the operation progresses.
"Police would like to thank the community for their assistance so far, and remind everyone of the importance of abiding by all Public Health Orders."