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Western Star turns to Facebook to award Serious Trucks
LIKE IT: Western Star owners can now post photos of their rig to Facebook for a chance to be featured in the 2017 or 2018 Western Star Trucks Calendar.Seriously dedicated Western Star Truck fans around Australia are helping turn the iconic brand into a big name on social media, through its Serious Truck Awards that have relaunched on Facebook.
As part of the new awards that commenced in early May, Western Star owners can now post photos of their truck to compete for online "likes", with new categories announced every fortnight.
Winners with the most "likes" will have the chance to be featured in the 2017 or 2018 Western Star Trucks calendar, with runner-up prizes to be determined on the merit of each fortnightly theme.
Western Star fans now have the social platform to show off their unique rigs with categories for the program to include Dynamic Decals, Brawny Bull Bars, and Tenacious Tippers, to name a few.
"It's an exciting time to grow social engagement and reinforce the ethos of the Western Star Trucks brand, which include some of the toughest and well-designed trucks, capable in almost any application," said General Manager of Marketing at Penske Transportation Group International Kim Ruddock.
According to Mrs Ruddock altering the formula of the program to allow both old and new truck submissions will also reinforce "how tough, durable and loyal Western Star Trucks of any age truly are".
Penske Commercial Vehicles – the company representing Western Star Trucks in Australia and New Zealand – invites all Western Star Truck dealers and customers to post to the Facebook page located at https://www.facebook.com/WesternStarTrucksAustralia/
"The social platform will give our diehard Western Star fans, who drive our trucks day in and day out, the ability to showcase the passion and pride they have for their trucks," Mrs Ruddock said.
TNT Takeover Completed
In a joint statement FedEx Corporation and TNT Express have jointly announced FedEx has acquired the TNT Express business. The $6.8 billion deal is being characterised by Fedex as combining the strengths of the two companies, one as the the world’s largest air express network and the other as having an unparalleled European road network. The statement reckons the deal will ‘expand the existing FedEx portfolio and reshape the global transportation and logistics industry’.
Electric Parcel Delivery Truck For Fedex
“This acquisition is a significant accomplishment and marks the beginning of a new era, filled with promise for our people, customers and share-owners,” said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO of FedEx. “We are proud to celebrate the joining of two iconic companies and the approximately 400,000 team members who are committed to serving customers around the world.
“The timing of this historic event is important, particularly in the current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates. Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world.
“Over our 43 year history, FedEx has repeatedly reinvented and revolutionised the industry, from the first overnight express service backed by a money-back guarantee to the invention of internet shipping. And just as we revolutionised the U.S. domestic parcel business through the acquisition and development of what is now FedEx Ground, the acquisition of TNT will change the way customers view FedEx around the world.”
According to the joint statement, now that FedEx has acquired TNT Express, the integration process will begin immediately. FedEx says its track record of successful acquisition integrations in the U.S. and globally will serve the combined companies well to leverage investments in technology, infrastructure, facilities and operational capabilities to position the combined companies for long-term growth and success.
Current TNT livery for trucks in Australia
In the near term, customers are advised to expect to interact with each company as they always have and receive the service they have come to expect. Without talking about how the new operation will be branded, FedEx simply states, it expects customers to enjoy an expanded global offering that draws upon the breadth of expertise from both companies.
“We believe that this strategic acquisition will add significant value for FedEx shareowners, team members and customers around the globe, particularly in Europe where we will establish a strong new competitor,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “The TNT team members bring 70 years of diverse experience, which combined with that of FedEx team members, will make this integration a success.”
Police audit 23 trucks at food distribution company
Authorities audited 23 trucks at food distribution company following a recent fatal collision.
Traffic & Highway Patrol Officers, together with Roads and Maritime Services inspectors, conducted an operation targeting a food distribution company today.
The company was allegedly involved in a recent fatal traffic collision at Brookvale, prompting police to conduct an audit of their Girraween business.
At 8am (Tuesday 24 May 2016), police attached to the Joint Traffic Task Force in company with RMS inspectors, attended the Amax Avenue premises and conducted an audit on 23 heavy vehicles and 12 trailers.
As a result, officers issued three major defects for non compliant engine control modules, allowing speeds over the 100kph limit, and ten minor defects for defective lights, tyres and brakes.
Seven infringement notices were issued for unregistered heavy vehicle, not complying with standards, work diary offences, no registration and expired labels.
Officers attached to the Crash Investigation Unit also attended the operation and seized documents as part of ongoing inquiries.
Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, Commander of the State's Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said such operations were necessary to ensure that operators, companies, and distributors were all complying with expectations.
"Where such tragedies occur on our roads, the Joint Traffic Taskforce will closely examine all aspects of fleet operations to ensure safety is the absolute priority."
“Roads and Maritime Services will continue to support NSW Police as the investigation into this fatality continues,” General Manager Compliance Operations Paul Endycott said.
“This incident was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family at this time.
“It is our responsibility to ensure we investigate companies involved in fatal incidents to ensure there are no ongoing safety or compliance issues.
“As today’s joint operation showed, minor defects were identified and the company is working with us to ensure these are addressed.
“We will continue to investigate all heavy vehicles through planned joint operations and random roadside campaigns for the safety of all road users.”
Investigators continue their inquiries into the fatal traffic collision at Brookvale on Friday (20 May 2016), and are appealing for public assistance from anyone who witnessed the incident.
Police would also like to hear from anyone who may have been in the vicinity of Allambie Heights that day, particularly if anyone saw anything suspicious.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Got the Benz: Bird's 20 years behind the wheel
Greg Bird, who hails from Orange, is a rare breed of truck owner.
He bought his Mercedes-Benz 1425 new from West Orange Motors in 1986, and apart from a 200km stretch, he’s been behind its wheel ever since.
"A cow knocked me over and I did my knee," Greg explains. "So my brother came over and did the job for me.
"When the original number plates were handed back in July 2012, the truck had done 1,905,761 kilometres."
Coupled to bogie axle trailers and 2x1 stock floats, the truck would haul pigs throughout central western NSW, mostly headed for Canberra.
Six of those years were spent driving through Harden once a week.
Greg says would cop his fair share of jokes on the CB, especially when carting pigs along the Hume, with comments such as "look boys, another load of recruits going up to Goulburn to the academy".
"Then you’d put the blinkers on to turn right to Canberra, and it would be, ‘oh no, wait on, they’re politicians’."
Greg was a diesel mechanic in Orange before moving into the truck industry: "The apprenticeship was on 1418s so I knew them inside out."
Nowadays, the Benz is on club registration and despite its age, Greg says the 1425 still goes well.
The engine has been rebuilt once, however it still has the original brake linings and drums which are only 50 per cent worn.
"It’s never been a ball of power," Greg says. "But it spends most of its time running around on the flat now."
K&S faces $12.8m debt on Arrium failure
Financial year turns sour as major customer hits wall profit plunge beckons
K&S Corporation has signalled the failure of one of its biggest customers will cost it $12.8 million.
Steel-maker Arrium’s failure was always going to be a significant blow but now K&S has enumerated just how heavy.
But that fails to take into account October’s $33 million contract extension with the firm that would have run to June 2019.
K&S is already battling downturns in its markets on both sides of the country and has now forecast a financial year result before tax of $5-6 million.
Last financial year, that figure was $18.8 million, up from $12.5 million the year before, leading to a net profit of $13.3 million.
"While steps have been taken to diversify and reduce the cost base of K&S Corporation’s business and a number of our divisions are performing well, K&S Corporation is still experiencing challenging economic conditions in several of its key market sectors," the company says.
"The severe downturn in the Western Australian economy and the resources sector more broadly, the structural decline of domestic manufacturing, and reduced profitability of several of K&S Corporation’s Eastern States operations have continued to provide a drag on earnings.
"K&S Corporation is reviewing the carrying value of its assets having regard to the challenging economic conditions that continue to impact a number of our market sectors.
"It is also highly likely that K&S Corporation will need to take up a bad-debt provision in respect of a significant portion of its total debtor exposure to Arrium Limited of $12.8 million."
The company has a number of transport and logistics contracts in place with Arrium for distribution of finished steel products in the eastern states, but not for its Whyalla steel making to iron ore mining operations.
Fatal truck crash rate falls 80 per cent despite truckies calling for less regulation
Authoritative new figures show the rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell 80 per cent between 1982 and 2015, despite industry talk that over-regulation isn’t improving safety.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Trucking Association, Christopher Melham, released the new figures today. The figures were compiled by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) at the University of Adelaide from government statistics.
"Safety is always the trucking industry’s first priority. These figures show the dramatic improvement we have achieved, with the fatal crash rate for articulated trucks falling by 80 per cent between 1982 and 2015," Mr Melham said.
"During this time, the number of articulated trucks on Australian roads doubled.
"Even as truck and car numbers have grown, the rate of fatal accidents has fallen thanks to better roads, improvements in vehicle design, stronger laws and the industry’s own commitment to safety.
"But even one accident is one too many. That’s why the ATA is using this election campaign to call on political parties and candidates in this election campaign to support practical measures to improve road safety.
"On Friday, the ATA called on parties and candidates to commit to mandating stability control for trucks and trailers.
"Stability control is an outstanding safety tool. There is compelling evidence that it would save lives, and it would open the way to even more advanced safety technologies that would save even more lives in the future.
"In contrast, there is no proven link between the price fixing established by the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and safety. The safety figures used by the TWU to justify the tribunal have been shown to be flawed.
"Instead of improving safety, the RSRT made small trucking businesses uncompetitive, and imposed an enormous paperwork burden on the industry," Mr Melham said.Later in the election campaign, the ATA will release state by state report cards on all the major parties and key candidates assessing their policies against the industry’s election issues: no RSRT, practical measures to improve road safety and support for stronger trucking businesses.
DB Schenker delivers Australian first
The aircraft was chartered by Karpeles Flight Services, a subsidiary of DB Schenker, to carry a 117-tonne generator.
The flight stopped over in Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan), Hyderabad (India) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). DB Schenker also arranged the land transport of the cargo to the Australian client - an alumina refinery in Collie, a four hour drive from Perth.
Delivery start-up challenging Uber and Sendle
Delivery start-up Zoom2U has announced it is on track beat Uber and Sydney rival Sendle into Australia's $3.9 billion-a-year pickup-and-delivery market.
According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), the service – which enables private drivers to become courier – has just raised $1.85 million for a $3 million total since 2014.
Founder Steve Orenstein told AFR the funding made Zoom2U the best funded contender to disrupt the fragmented parcel delivery industry, which IbisWorld said is lead by Toll Holdings and DHL Express with market shares of just 12 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.
Competing start-up, Sendle, had raised $1.8 million from NRMA in 2015, albeit with a different model that is based on providing online access to excess capacity in existing courier networks.
$85 billion juggernaut Uber has not entered the Australian market with a courier service just yet, with Orenstein saying market entry barriers could be higher than expected.
"Delivering people and delivering parcels are two very different propositions," he told AFR.
“If it was that easy, Uber would be here doing it already. With the taxi industry they were disrupting a few big, inefficient businesses, but there's thousands of courier companies in Australia."
Orenstein claims 14,000 people have had at least one parcel delivered through Zoom2U already, with part of the latest $1.85 million injection to be used to attract new drivers.
Greig appointed COO of Tieman Tankers
The company has also launched a renewed logo and new website
Tieman Tankers has appointed Barry Greig to the role of new chief operating officer.
"Barry leads a management team focused on building quality tankers that offer the best value," the company states.
"He has extensive experience in sectors of manufacturing, export, renewable energy and construction.
"While there have been some difficult times during 2015, Tieman Tankers business has established a solid foundation for future success and will continue to focus on industry changing innovations."
Tieman Tankers has also launched a renewed logo and new website that "highlights the new era of business moving forward".
The company says Greig had been "instrumental" in Tieman's restructure last year.
Tieman Industries was placed into voluntary administration in August last year before a massive restructure saw the founding family buy back its flagship tanker business.
Since the restructure, the trailer manufacturer operates from its manufacturing and service site in Campbellfield, Melbourne.
Truck drivers told to attend minimum pay hearings over Easter or 'face jail time
Truck drivers have reported being told that they could face jail time if they do not appear before a national tribunal over Easter.
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is holding hearings around the country into plans for a minimum pay rate to be established for owner-operator truck drivers.
Tribunal sittings have been scheduled for Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday — angering owner-operators who are already concerned the new pay rate could put many of them out of business.
The executive director of the South Australian Road Transport Association, Steve Shearer, has described the scheduling as a "slap in the face" for people with religious beliefs and members already under severe stress.
"I have been doing this for a long time and I am stunned," Mr Shearer said.
"We think it's absolutely unconscionable to add insult and pain to injury in this way when it is unnecessary.
"The tribunal could quite easily hear these matters after Easter."
Mr Shearer said some drivers would be away and wanted to be heard by phone, but have instead been warned about the consequences of not attending.
"They've been told by the tribunal that they are facing six months' imprisonment if they fail to appear at the designated times over Easter," he said.
The Department of Employment has written to the tribunal saying it is also concerned about the Easter scheduling.
It said Easter was an important time for families, religious observance and recreation, and the Commonwealth supported the matter being put off until next Tuesday.
The tribunal has responded by saying the number of hearing days actually needed would not be known until the matter came up for mention on Friday afternoon.
Trucking industry divided as introduction of new pay rate looms
The new minimum pay rate is due to come into effect in April.
Owner-operators have fears it will put many of them out of business.
That is because it would not apply to trucking companies, which employ drivers.
Those companies will therefore be able to charge clients a cheaper rate than owner-operators.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has said a minimum rate was needed to give truck drivers security when negotiating with big retailers, such as supermarkets.
The TWU has also argued that higher pay rates would mean safer roads, because small trucking businesses would not have to push past allowed driving hours or cut corners on maintenance.
Steggles raided following fatal incident
The death of a grandmother on Friday has prompted a raid in NSW
Food distribution company Steggles has been raided by New South Wales traffic officers and members of the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) after its alleged involvement in a fatal collision in Brookvale.
The incident, which saw a 60-year-old woman hit by two vehicles, occurred on Friday morning and prompted the authorities to conduct an inspection at Steggles’ Girraween business yesterday.
According to those involved in the raid, 23 heavy vehicles and 12 trailers were inspected with a number of faults found.
A NSW police statement says "officers issued three major defects for non-compliant engine control modules, allowing speeds over the 100kph limit, and ten minor defects for defective lights, tyres and brakes."
"Seven infringement notices were issued for unregistered heavy vehicle, not complying with standards, work diary offences, no registration and expired labels," the statement says.
Officers undertaking the investigation into the death were also on hand to seize a number of documents.
"This incident was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family at this time," general manager of compliance operations at RMS Paul Endycott says.
"It is our responsibility to ensure we investigate companies involved in fatal incidents to ensure there are no ongoing safety or compliance issues.
"As [the] joint operation showed, minor defects were identified and the company is working with us to ensure these are addressed.
"We will continue to investigate all heavy vehicles through planned joint operations and random roadside campaigns for the safety of all road users."
Police say they are still looking for witnesses to the crash on Friday morning.
Flexibility call on container weighing rule approach
IMO wants enforcement of SOLAS verified gross mass rules to account for containers packed before deadline
As the new global weighing rules deadline for shipping containers going to ports looms, the global agency responsible has urged a "practical and pragmatic approach" regarding those packed before July 1.
The call – in a circular to administrations, port state control authorities, companies, port terminals and ship masters – follows discussions in the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) verified gross mass (VGM) regulations have been a source of anxiety from transporters and shippers locally and internationally as authorities have struggled to iron out what weighing systems are compliant and where responsibility for dealing with and handling non-compliant containers lies.
While the new rules will go ahead as planned, the MSC noted concern about the impact on containers packed before deadline and then transhipped.
It says it accepted that "some leeway should be provided in order for any problems resulting from software updates, required for the electronic collection and transmittal of verified gross mass data, to be rectified without causing delays to containers being loaded.
"In this context, the MSC agreed that while there should be no delay in the implementation of the SOLAS requirements, it would be beneficial if Administrations and port State control authorities could take a ‘practical and pragmatic approach’ when enforcing them, for a period of three months immediately following 1 July 2016.
"This would help ensure that containers that are loaded before 1 July 2016, but transhipped on or after 1 July 2016, reach their final port of discharge without a verified gross mass and it would provide flexibility, for three months immediately after 1 July 2016, to all the stakeholders in containerized transport to refine, if necessary, procedures (e.g. updated software) for documenting, communicating and sharing electronic verified gross mass data."
Notwithstanding that, the MSC emphasised that the stability and safe operation of ships, including the safe packing, handling and transport of containers, is not limited to the provision and use of VGM information and is also covered by a number of SOLAS regulations.
29,740 trucks intercepted so far in Operation StateTrans
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Officers working alongside Roads and Maritime Services officers have issued 2810 defect notices to trucks and trailers in the second week of Operation StateTrans.
In total, 29,740 trucks and trailers were intercepted since the operation began, and 1,697 traffic infringements and 615 breach notices were issued for licence, registration, load, fatigue and other offences.
Inspectors have downloaded 376 Engine Control Modules so far during the operation, with 75 found to be non-compliant or tampered with, allowing speeds of over 100km/h on NSW roads. In addition, out of 1,252 random drug tests, 15 drivers tested positive and were given 24-hour prohibition notices from driving, and are pending further Court action.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said Joint Traffic Taskforce Operations were essential for ensuring the state of the NSW heavy vehicle fleet was safe on our roads.
"This is an opportunity for drivers, loaders, operators, companies, and directors alike to learn from our enforcement experience.
"While the number of non-compliance issues is relatively low given the number of trucks intercepted, those that are tampering with speed to allow their trucks to travel over the 100kph limit for heavy vehicles are being identified, prosecuted, and put off the road," Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
Roads and Maritime Services General Manager Compliance Operations, Paul Endycott, said with more than 175,000 heavy vehicles registered in NSW, targeted enforcement operations like StateTrans play a crucial role in identifying and reducing non-compliance.
"Over the past three years there has been a 50 per cent drop in the defect rate in NSW, StateTrans plays an important role in seeing this downwards trend continue," Mr Endycott said.
"With thousands of truck movements taking place every day, drivers, operators and all parties in the Chain of Responsibility must ensure their business practices do not compromise safety on the roads, and all vehicles must be roadworthy and meet the required checks and balances.
"It's only a small number of drivers, operators, and companies that continually do the wrong thing which is why working with NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol is important in both ensuring, and enforcing, heavy vehicle compliance on the roads," he said.
Some examples of serious non compliance include;
About 11pm on Tuesday (10 May 2016), officers stopped a B-double carrying 60 ton of bagged sugar on the Cumberland Highway.
An inspection revealed that the first trailer was unregistered and a $1,300 infringement notice was issued along with four demerit points.
Further inspection revealed that four tyres on the rear trailer were dangerously defective, with three
having exposed tyre casings.
The trailer was issued a major defect and unloaded, pending registration of the trailer and tyre replacement.
About 9pm on Thursday (12 May 2016) police stopped a heavy vehicle travelling south on the Newell Highway, Daroobalgie. Checks on the driver's licence revealed he had a ourt-imposed driver licence cancellation until 2032.
A search of the vehicle revealed a number of work diairies, a radar detector and prohibited knives. The driver was arrested and taken for mandatory testing.
About 2.45am yesterday, (18 May 2016), police stopped a heavy vehicle and in Pine Creek. Checks on the driver revealed he was disqualified from driving.
Further checks revealed the vehicle had been allegedly tampered with to exceed speeds of 100km/h and had a radar detector installed.
StateTrans, a joint initiative between Australian Police and road agencies continues throughout the month of May.
Truck drivers rally against road safety tribunal
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident the government has the numbers to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal but has continued to heap pressure on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for continuing to support the tribunal at a protest in Canberra.
About 200 truck drivers converged on Canberra on Sunday to support the government's plans to abolish the tribunal, which was set up by the Gillard government to set minimum rates of pay for truck drivers.
The government argues a pay rate order by the tribunal hurts owner-operator truck drivers and small businesses across the country.
But Labor argues better pay rates improve road safety and will help prevent driver fatigue and drug abuse as truck drivers try and stay awake to do more shifts and earn more income.
The Senate will debate the abolition this week.
It comes as the Transport Workers Union attempts to vary the contractor driver minium payment order, with a hearing scheduled on Monday.
The TWU wants to delay minimum payments for long distance operations until January 2017 and ensure there is no disincentive to engage a contractor driver rather than an employee road transport driver.
Some truck drivers attended the Canberra rally from as far away as northern Queensland and Western Australia.
Truck not earning
Gordon Mackinlay, from Holbrook in NSW, told the rally his truck had not made any money in a week.
"This is not about politics," he said. "I want to feed my family and make a truck [loan] repayment next month."
Kelly Boland said her family had been owner-drivers for three generations and their 19-year-old son wanted to be the fourth.
"His future is being taken away from him," she said.
An estimated 35,000 truck drivers are affected by the tribunal's ruling.
Mr Turnbull, who was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, addressed the rally and told drivers the government would "back them to the hilt".
He said he was confident he had enough support to abolish the tribunal but added that if he did not, the government had a "fallback" and would introduce another bill to set aside the pay orders.
Mr Turnbull used the protest to argue Mr Shorten was simply doing the bidding of the TWU.
Opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O'Connor said there was domestic and international evidence that showed a correlation between rates of pay and safety.
"If we can prevent people dying on roads we should be pursuing that," Mr O'Connor told Sky News.
He said the tribunal did some good work, but Labor was willing to look at the order because there had been concerns about the implementation.
VicRoads hopes rubber flaps will fix notorious Montague Street Bridge
Just after claiming its 100th recorded victim, is the Montague Street Bridge's long reign of terror finally at an end?
The bridge has scalped untold numbers of trucks and buses.
Despite huge warning signs, a concerted social media campaign and a long list of victims, trucks and buses keep hitting the darned thing.
On February 22, a bus crashed into the Montague Street bridge, injuring 12 people. Photo: Jason South
Hopefully, not any more.