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Truck terror threat forces police Anzac Day rethink
RECENT international terrorist attacks involving the use of trucks led local police to rethink their Anzac Day strategy.
Every officer on duty in the Brisbane region on Tuesday will be briefed on the force's terrorism strategy, as the Queensland Police Service looks to learn harsh lessons from recent attacks in Paris, Stockholm and London.
Acting Chief Superintendent Mark Reid said the brefing would include "discussions on vigilance, what we're looking for in regard to anti-social behaviour and terrorist behaviour."
"We have a number of assets out and about. It's a terrible thing to see these events occur overseas, but it provides us with the ability to refocus both our resources and what is important."
QPS said it had not received any information to suggest a terrorist attack was likely, but the national terrorism alert level remained at "probable".
The "current world environment" has forced organisers of Anzac Day marches in Brisbane to expand vehicle checking procedures this year.
Organisers have implemented a vehicle access system that will see only approved vehicles allowed into restricted areas.
"It will make it harder for a person who is not supposed to be within that precinct to get into the area," Chief Supt Reid said.
"And if a vehicle is already in the precinct it will make it easier for us to perhaps remove the vehicle from outside the restricted area."
Police would not say which landmarks in Queensland had been earmarked as potential terrorist targets, or how many landmarks were being monitored.
No bag checks will be conducted.
The planning process for Anzac Day has ramped up in the past three months and QPS has focused on fixing the "holes" in their strategy.
Queenslanders have been told to go about their business as usual but anyone concerned about safety has been invited to speak to the nearest officer.
"If something doesn't seem right there's generally a reason for that. Just be more aware of what's going on around you," Chief Supt Reid said.
New freight depot announced for Port of Brisbane
Pulp and paper manufacturer, Stora Enso, has pre-committed to a 5,950m² purpose-built warehouse facility within the Port of Brisbane’s Port West logistics estate at Lytton, Brisbane.
Port of Brisbane, CEO Roy Cummins, welcomed Stora Enso to the estate and confirmed construction would commence on the on the 1.8 hectare site within a fortnight.
“The Port West location – particularly its proximity to the Port of Brisbane’s container terminals and wharves – will enable Stora Enso to significantly reduce its transport logistics costs,” said Cummins.
“The decision to select the Port West site was principally made due to the location’s proximity to the port and the associated logistics benefits, which will significantly reduce the cost of our freight movements,” said Matthew Wood, Stora Enso’s Managing Director.
Construction of the new facility is being undertaken by FKG on behalf of PBPL (owner and developer), with occupation prior to the end of 2017. The site will be designed for the import, storage and distribution of timber products and will include over 8,000m² of hardstand.
Port West Estate is located six kilometres from the Port of Brisbane and five kilometres from the Brisbane’s Gateway arterial network.
Truckie hero awarded highest honour for saving life
A brave truckie who risked it all to save another driver's life has been awarded the Royal Humane Society of Australasia’s highest honour, the 2016 Clarke Gold Model.
Timothy John Bunyan, a 57-year-old NSW-based truckie, has been awarded the 2016 Clarke Gold Medal for rescuing a truck driver from a burning B-double and subsequent explosion at Charleville in 2014.
On September 5, 2014, a B-double Kenworth carrying more than 50 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate crashed off the Angellala Creek Bridge on the Mitchell Highway and burst into flames.
Bunyan was driving a truck to Charleville on the day the incident occurred, when he came across the crashed truck.
He stopped his truck 200-300 metres away from the bridge and ran to the scene, staying with the injured driver who had managed to pull himself from the burning truck.
The scene saw raging 10-metre-high flames and a black smoke plume could be seen 30 kilometres out of Charleville.
Another truckie, Jimmy Bateman, stopped and helped – both providing first-aid to the injured driver and comforting him.
Two fire trucks arrived on the scene and after the four fire fighters were alerted to the explosive load the B-double was carrying, they began evacuating the men from the danger zone.
As the evacuation was underway a large explosion occurred, closely followed by an even larger one less than a minute later.
The explosion resulted in extreme damage to the two fire trucks, completely destroying the B-double carrying the ammonium nitrate, the rail bridge, the road bridge and the surrounding environment with debris deposited some distance from the explosion site.
The sonic waves from the explosions were described by those who witnessed them as a kick in the chest from hundreds of metres away.
Numerous police and ambulance officers arrived and helped evacuate all involved in the incident.
All those at the site when the explosion occurred required hospital treatment for lacerations, burns and deafness due to the pressure of the explosion.
The other truck driver who stopped to help, Jimmy Bateman, has also been awarded the Gold Medal of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia.
ATA extends industry awards nominations
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has extended the time for nominations for the 2017 National Trucking Industry Awards.
The new closing date for nominations is Friday 5 May 2017, 5pm Canberra time.
ATA chief executive Ben Maguire has extended the time so that all state and territory associations and trucking operators could nominate exceptional members of the trucking industry.
"We have had an encouraging number of expressions of interest as well as enquiries," Maguire said.
"We want to ensure that everyone has the additional time to consider and nominate deserving candidates for all categories of the honour roll in 2017.
"I urge everyone to consider those that make a substantial contribution to the trucking industry and nominate them for an appropriate award today."
The awards open for nominations are:
"These awards recognise people and businesses who make a significant and positive impact to the trucking industry.
"The ATA wants to ensure that everyone that makes such an impact to our industry has the opportunity to be recognised."
The awards will be presented at Trucking Australia 2017 21-23 June, at the Darwin Convention Centre during the Gala Dinner on the Foundation Sponsors Day.
The Foundation Sponsors Day celebrates and recognises the Foundation Sponsors of the ATA and will take place on June 23 2017.
The Don Watson Memorial Award and the TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award will also be presented on the night.
Tenterfield truck wash cash a boon for livestock transport
LBRCA hails first announcement in series as result of hard work
Funding for the Tenterfield truck wash in New South Wales is a positive move for livestock transport infrastructure, with the promise of more to come, the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) says.
The new Tenterfield Livestock Selling Centre Truck Wash gains $600,000 and is the first recipient of funding under the ‘NSW Fixing Country Truck Washes’ initiative, a $10 million joint federal-state arrangement to build and upgrade truck wash-out facilities across the state.
The LBRCA has lobbied the state government for such a program along key meat and livestock freight routes for six years, citing compliance, bio-security and community amenity issues.
"We stressed that we must be on the front foot and ensure consistent measures are in place to deliver against bio-security, community health and animal welfare requirements – not to mention ensuring driver safety and minimising environmental issues," LBRCA president Lynley Miners says.
"We have worked closely with the NSW government to deliver this reform, and I know and appreciate the hard work and investment made in delivering this outcome and creating such an important and fundamental reform."
The LBRCA says it encouraged all NSW councils to consider applying for funding under this initiative and provided more than 15 letters to various councils to support their submissions.
"It is particularly pleasing to see the outcome of the Association’s vision and hard work come to fruition," Miners adds.
"As we say in this industry, real change takes time."
Further successful projects are to be announced in coming weeks.
"The NSW Government’s Fixing Country Truck Washes program is set to build an efficient freight transport network across regional NSW by focusing on hotspots where truck washing facilities and effluent disposal don’t currently meet the needs of truck operators, especially livestock carriers," NSW roads, maritime and freight minister Melinda Pavey says.
"This is an essential industry to the state’s economy and I’m delighted with the local government projects that have been successful, which will contribute to a strong freight transport network."
The federal regional development minister, Senator Fiona Nash, says the new facility will provide safety, productivity, and environmental benefits to the local community.
"This will allow livestock carriers a quicker and easier way to washout and re-load their trucks and is important for biosecurity including disease control and weed management," Nash adds.
"Users of the new Tenterfield Wash-out will have their average driving distance significantly reduced by about 100 kilometres to the next available truck wash at Glenn Innes.
"The project underwent a detailed evaluation process, first by a Technical Panel chaired by Transport for NSW and then by the Infrastructure NSW’s Regional Independent Assessment Panel with representatives from across the freight industry."
Sponsor support to fuel Casino Truck Show
North Coast Petroleum has again confirmed its support for the Casino Truck Show, which this year will take place on August 5.
Casino Truck Show event organisers have confirmed that North Coast Petroleum will be the naming sponsor for this year’s Casino Truck Show event, which will be held in the Casino CBD on Saturday, August 5.
North Coast director Mick McKinlay says the Casino Truck Show "has become an event that our community looks forward to every year.
"We are proud to be involved in this fun day which acknowledges the hard working people in the transport industry and gives the public the opportunity to mix with the drivers and check out the trucks."
Casino Truck Show president Stuart George acknowledged the valuable support by North Coast Petroleum to the annual event.
"The generous contributions of our event sponsors are essential to the continued viability of our much loved truck show," George says.
"We are very grateful and proud to confirm our continued association with them in this year’s North Coast Petroleum Casino Truck Show.
The 2017 show promises to be bigger and better than ever, with more than 150 trucks expected to roll into town.
The CBD will be closed off to guarantee enough space to celebrate the Casino Truck Show’s sixth birthday.
For more information on the 2017 North Coast Petroleum Casino Truck Show see the website at www.casinotruckshow.com.au.
ATA critical of payment times
Extended payment times are a growing problem for small trucking businesses and must be fixed, according to the Australian Trucking Association.
New ATA Chair, Geoff Crouch, was critical of the extension following the release of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s Final Report into Payment Times and Practices. The ATA made a detailed submission to its inquiry.
“The ATA has been calling for extended payment times to be fixed and now the small business ombudsman has backed the need for the Government to act. In the trucking industry, some big business customers are demanding payment terms of up to 120 days,” Crouch said.
“The report recommends that industry codes should include best payment practices, including set payment times. In the 2016 election campaign, the ATA called for a mandatory code covering payment terms for small trucking businesses and related issues.”
Crouch said the ATA supported the ombudsman’s other recommendations to the Government, which would deliver shorter and more certain payment times and practices.
“The Government has made valuable reforms for small business – such as the introduction of the small business ombudsman and lower company taxes, but its small business agenda must also include fixing extended payment times,” he added.
“The Government must act, and introduce shorter payment times for its own procurement, require businesses who sign government contracts to pay their suppliers in line with these shorter payment times, and legislate maximum payment times for business to business transactions.”
According to the ATA, the trucking industry consists almost entirely of small businesses, with 98 per cent of road freight transport businesses having 19 employees or fewer.
Growing Your Fleet
Once you start a transport business, and if it goes well, the big dilemma soon appears about growing your fleet. Operating from western Sydney, Barry Garousse and his partner Lisa run Garousse Refrigerated, a successful small fleet hauling an eclectic mix of freight.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Barry hadn’t deliberately planned to become a small fleet operator but as time progressed opportunities came up which enabled him to grow the business. For instance, once he had two semis working for Primo he decided to buy another trailer as a spare in case of a breakdown.
“I went to an auction with a plan to buy a trailer and walked away with two,” he grins. “Then I thought ‘what the hell am I going to do with the extra one’.”
He needn’t have worried though, not long after a call came from HNL, a refrigerated transport company that had taken over the IGA supermarket cartage contract at Silverwater. The upshot was Barry was contracted to supply two semis to do local and NSW country deliveries for IGA. This gave him the opportunity to realise what he describes as a highlight of his life, buying a brand new Kenworth T402.
“It was a real buzz to sit in the dealership with the salesman at the computer and actually design the truck that I wanted,” Barry enthuses. “You had the multiple questions: What air cleaners do you want?; What windscreen?; What interior?; How many gauges?; Do you want dual exhausts?; What chassis colour?; Do you want the flare kit?; What type of bull bar?
“It’s such a good feeling when you actually get to choose and decide exactly how your truck comes off the production line. Going down to the factory at Bayswater to see how the Kenworths are put together was an amazing experience too. I took my brother-in-law and cousin so the three of us toured the factory and my cousin came with me in the new T402 when I drove it back to Sydney.”
The other truck he bought for the job was a new Isuzu Giga and while the work for IGA was consistent and formed an integral part of Garousse Refrigerated’s repertoire for some time, a massive jump in fuel prices post GFC rendered the job unviable.
“When I started there the price of fuel was $1.17 a litre and in a short period it went up to $1.80 which basically took away our profit margin for the work,” Barry explains. “So we had to make the difficult decision to sell the two trucks and downsize. HNL ended up buying the trucks and I still see the T402 running around today and think to myself ‘that’s my truck’.”
True to form, the downsizing didn’t last long as Barry soon spotted an opportunity to diversify into something completely different, bulk cement haulage.
“We ended up buying the Mack Super-Liner and started towing for Independent Cement in 2011. It was only nine months old with 90,000 km on the clock when we bought it – still like new. The trailer is a Kockums.”
Barry says the driver of the Mack, Bradley Kochel, who has been with him for five years, is one of the best drivers he’s employed. The truck is loaded out of Port Kembla and serves a variety of clients within NSW. It covers between 2500 and 3000 km weekly.
“Maximum payload with this work is critical so we have the truck on HML with the IAP which allows us to gross 46 tonnes on selected routes,” Barry adds.
In the meantime, Garousse Refrigerated continues to grow, working for new customers and picking up additional work opportunities, Barry says. “I love what I do and would not have it any other way.”
Doing The Milk Run
Here’s a gentle story of a truck driver who lives in a world almost completely beyond our experiences in Australia. This driver works in the fjords of Norway, going from farm to farm collecting milk into his truck and dog tanker set-up.
Like here is harsh with the short days of the frozen North in the winter meaning his working day will start in the dark and end in the dark. The truck weaves its way though small farm tracks to the small dairy farms dotted along the fjord.
He is also driving a full size line haul cabbed truck on a local delivery run. A truck like this would be considered overkill, here in Australia. It’s also got 580 hp under the hood, quite a lot to pull just 29,000 litres of milk.
It is all so alien to us, the environment, the equipment used, the climate, the incredible scenery and the barge to get back to the big city, Bergen, to unload the milk.
At the same time it is all very familiar. Drivers hauling milk in Australia would recognise a lot of the process, going into the dairy, sniffing the milk to check its OK. Then fitting the pump on the truck onto the tank and commencing to load up with milk. The test samples have to be made and then taken back to the milk facility for testing before unloading into the bottling supply.
The multi-generational element to the milk hauling business, with his grandfather and father starting in the milk game back in 1967 and the family carrying on the tradition.
Then there’s the fact he passed his truck test on his birthday and went out and did his first load that afternoon. There are plenty of people working in the industry here who were also champing at the bit to get to drive the big trucks.
If there is one thing, above all, which shines through in this video, it’s his passion. He has a passion for the job, for his truck, for his community and the farmers he collects from. It shines through in the way he talks so matter of factly about the work.
Toyota to bring innovative fuel technology to trucks
Toyota has commitment to zero tailpipe emissions by adapting its advanced hydrogen fuel-cell technology for use on heavy-duty trucks.
The Japanese company has scaled-up its proprietary fuel-cell technology from its Mirai passenger car to develop a strong yet silent power source for a 36-tonne semi-trailer.
Known as ‘Project Portal’, Toyota will use the concept truck to conduct a feasibility study into the potential of fuel-cell technology in heavy-duty applications.
Taking place in the United States, the hydrogen-fuelled truck will haul cargo between the ports of Los Angeles.
"As they did with the Prius and the Mirai, Toyota is taking a leap into the future of technology. By bringing this heavy duty, zero emission hydrogen fuel cell proof of concept truck to the Port, Toyota has planted a flag that we hope many others will follow,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board (CARB).
“CARB will be following the progress of this feasibility study with interest, as we look to develop the best mix of regulations and incentives to rapidly expand the market for the cleanest, most efficient big trucks to meet the need for dramatic change in the freight sector.”
According to Toyota, the truck generates more than 500kW of power and almost 1800Nm of torque from two Mirai fuel-cell stacks and a 12kWh battery. “Toyota believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future," said Bob Carter, Toyota Motor North America Executive Vice President. “With Project Portal, we're proud to help explore the societal benefits of a true zero emission heavy-duty truck platform.”
In 2016, Toyota Australia and Hino Australia unveiled a mobile hydrogen refueller that enabled three demonstration Mirai fuel-cell sedans to go anywhere in Australia that a conventional car can be driven.
Depression in transport: Truckie teams with beyondblue to help
One truckie decided she wanted to make a real change, one truckie at a time.
Three million Australians are living with anxiety or depression, and it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
While one in five Australians are likely to be experiencing a mental health condition at any one time, professional truck drivers have a 7 percent higher chance of developing depression than other Australians, according to a survey of the industry funded by Australian Rotary Health.
Well-known truckie Tracee Pearse wanted to do something to help the transport industry, which she says sees a lot of mental health concerns with the isolation and time away from home.
Depression was close to her heart after losing her sister to suicide five years ago, so she reached out to beyondblue to register to raise money.
Tracee registered with beyondblue, who are highly respected for doing fantastic work to encourage people to learn about the symptoms and stress of mental illness as well as providing 24-hour-a-day support lines.
While thinking the fundraising through, Tracee also drew inspiration from a friend who shaved his beard for charity.
Upon seeing this Tracee decided she’d also grow her hair, planning to cut it off once it’s long enough and donate it to contribute to wigs for sick children.
The two initiatives together have been called ‘Drive for Charity and Awareness’, with a Facebook page gaining support and followers.
"I put the two ideas together, and this is what I came up with," Tracee said.
"It’s not so much about how much I raise, it’s about making everyone safe.
"It’s about wanting everyone to be safe and happy.
"If I help one person across the country, it’s been worth it."
Tracee knows all too well the pressures truck drivers face, after spending the last 15 years behind the wheel, and she emphasises the importance of a clear mind.
"With depression comes fatigue; you don’t concentrate properly, sleep properly, think properly.
"If drivers can’t get enough sleep or think straight and they’re fatigued, there’s a problem."
Four years ago driver fatigue left Tracee shaken up and unsure about trucking – but she wasn’t the fatigued one.
"I was on a two-up run and while I was asleep in the bunk, the driver fell asleep.
"I went in and I saw the shrink, thinking it was a waste of time, but I gave him the whole lot.
"He doesn’t drive a truck, he doesn’t know how, but he didn’t have to, he helped.
"It’s good to talk to your mates and family but sometimes they don’t have the right tools - they aren’t professionals.
"I couldn’t believe how much it helped, I left feeling so good."
Tracee says truckies need to know that organisations like beyondblue and Lifeline offer around the clock chat lines, that drivers shouldn’t hesitate to use if they’re feeling anxious, sad, angry or anything out of the ordinary.
"These people are there to help; it’ll make life so much better and help keep us all safe."
The money raised by Tracee throughout the fundraising efforts will help beyondblue fund their vital call centre and support staff, who pick up the phone 24 hours a day to help those in need.
If you need help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au
South Australia probes grain transport costs
Road and rail haulage part of Koutsantonis-ordered investigation
South Australia’s inquiry into grain expert supply chain costs is underway and will probe road and rail transport.
The two part inquiry, sought by state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis from the Essential Services Commission of SA, will examine "the reasonableness of the costs underpinning the South Australian bulk grain supply chain".
It will look at:
The inquiry’s terms of reference encompass farm gate to export vessel costs including ship loading charges, "the basis upon which road and rail components of the bulk grain export supply chain costs are recovered" and state harvest trends in over the past 10 years.
Submissions are now open not long after the government hailed the state’s best-ever harvest, with agriculture minister Leon Bignell all involved, particularly agribusiness and grains logistics provider Viterra.
"Viterra has done a fantastic job working with the industry to prepare for this bumper crop, boosting its storage, handling and shipping capacity," Bignell said at the end of March.
While there is to be public consultation, Koutsantonis has asked ESCSA to work with Primary Industries and Regions SA, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Department of Treasury and Finance
The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) is to be a consultant for the review "as this organisation has already been involved in various publications on the grain supply chain and has the necessary analysts available", Koutsantonis writes.
ESCSA is due to report in six months' time.
North East Link to gain $100 million boost
Project supporter VTA reiterates anti-tunnels position
The North East Link’s $100 million funding allocation, flagged for this year’s state Budget, has garnered a warm Victorian Transport Association (VTA) response and a repeated plea that tunnels are ruled out on the project.
The cash is to be aimed at completing design, planning, and preconstruction works before contracts are signed.
"Local residents, motorists, the freight industry and businesses will see extensive community consultation with sessions scheduled across the project area from mid-year," the state government says.
"Detailed design and engagement will take place throughout the year, with procurement starting next year, contracts signed in 2019, and construction beginning soon after."
The North East Link will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road (M80) at Greensborough, with either the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink.
The VTA, which has long backed the project, is keen on the avoidance of tunnels that would block the use of certain trucks while raising the project’s cost.
"It is encouraging to see some serious funding being allocated to this vital infrastructure project, following the welcome commitment from the Victorian Government in December to build the North East Link, and its subsequent establishment of the North East Link Authority [NELA]," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.
"The VTA has already met with NELA CEO Duncan Elliott and the project team to discuss our preferred routing of the connection, and the importance of considering options that do not include tunnels, which are expensive to build and cannot accommodate dangerous goods vehicles.
"With or without a tunnel, Melbourne and the freight industry desperately need the North East Link, however we were encouraged that the Authority is considering a range of routing options, and that they understand the restrictions tunnels present for placarded dangerous goods vehicles.
"We look forward to being actively involved in the consultation process over the coming months, which will culminate with the construction of the state’s most important infrastructure project."
Other detailed planning and engineering work will include field investigations, equipment procurement, service investigations, site establishment and upgrades to existing infrastructure, the state government says.
"These expert engineering, environmental and social investigations will help determine the best design for the project, with a focus on protecting existing urban areas and minimising the impact to the environment," it adds.
Truck fire treated as arson
Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Emmett said the fire was being treated as suspicious and deliberately lit but refused to comment on how the fire started.
He said detectives believed the business had not been deliberately targeted.
“We still believe it is suspicious and deliberately lit,” Det-Sen. Sgt Emmett said.
“We cover off a range of theories or hypotheses if you like but we have been able to rule out there is no issue of threats or demands or any issues like that.
“In fact our inquiries have found this business is very community-minded and has helped a lot of local events, schools, sporting clubs with supplying their trucks and general goodwill amongst the community so it’s pretty disappointing I suppose when you look at it from that community view.
“We are actually working on the theory that the blaze taking the truck was a secondary thing, it was mainly just to start the fire here on the pallets.
“They are going to get a lot less under insurance and the way insurance companies work you never get what you would like to get, so it’s actually going to be quite a detriment to the company.”
Camtrans co-owner Geoff West said the fire was disappointing and the haulage company was in the process of finding a replacement truck in the short term.
He said replacing a Mack truck would take 12 months due to a waiting list.
Det-Sen. Sgt Emmett said there was no clear sign of entrance through or over the perimeter fencing and appealed for any video footage or photos of the fire from the public.
“We think that there are people that can probably help us, they might have seen something whether that be an initial flash or the fire in its early days, and they are the people who we would like to contact us,” he said.
Anyone who was in the area at the time of the fire or who saw anything suspicious is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Mercedes-Benz puts pedestrian safety first
Mercedes-Benz has introduced a truck safety system that automatically initiates braking for pedestrians on Australian Actros models.
The Active Brake Assist 4 was introduced in Europe late last year, and is now available for on-highway Mercedes-Benz Actros prime movers as well as the new Mercedes-Benz rigid models above 18-tonnes.
“We take safety very seriously at Mercedes-Benz and we are pleased to be able to offer this feature to our Australian customers,” said Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Director, Michael May.
“Along with the proven efficiency, comfort and reliability of the new model, the safety features of Mercedes-Benz trucks give us a clear competitive advantage."
It is the first system of its type in the world, the new feature warns the driver of imminent collisions with moving pedestrians and simultaneously automatically initiates partial braking, which enables the driver to avoid a collision by means of emergency braking or a steering manoeuvre.
The automated alerts and braking initiated by pedestrian detection are active up to a speed of 50 km/h, and is also used in the current passenger cars from Mercedes-Benz.