This Website is for Sale
Truckin' Around Tassis: Charlie Ivory
"WELL I've only been driving professionally now for five months," Charlie Ivory from Devonport told us the other day when he dropped in to the Forrest Caltex. "But so far I'd have to say I am loving it! I reckon it's just a great job, and I'm working for a great outfit, with a good crew, and getting lots of help and assistance from some of the old hands like Irish Bower!"
Charlie was a bit carried away with his new profession.
"Look it's my first job on the road, and seriously I reckon this was my best choice ever and I seriously don't have a single regret," he told Big Rigs.
Driving a 2002 Argosy sitting on top of a 500 Series 60 Detroit up front at the time, Charlie was picking up a trailer at Epping Forrest to go to Devonport.
Asked about how he spends his time off, he said "I just enjoy kicking about with the family, and taking it easy".
Freight firms bank on rail reopening after WA floods
Cargo backlog grows as service remains at standstill after five days while grain logistics is in flux
Rail-reliant freight firms are on tenterhooks awaiting the reopening of the flood hit east-west rail line but the exact timing remains unclear.
Five days after the lines was cut, Pacific National, which looks after Linfox rail freight, hopes that will be tomorrow.
But Brookfield Rail, which is responsible for the Eastern Goldfields line – the Western Australia side of line that carries about 80 per cent of east-west containerised freight traffic – tells ATN this is a provisional timing in an uncertain situation.
"It’s likely to be tomorrow afternoon and we have advised customers this is an estimated opening time based on current knowledge," a spokesperson says.
"However, given we are dealing with a natural disaster and recovery efforts are heavily dependent on weather and other environmental factors this can change very quickly."
Other lines yet to reopen are the Great Southern Railway, from Narrogin to Cranbrook, and southern grain lines from Wagin to Newdegate and Lake Grace to Hyden.
Reopened are the grain lines north of Northam, the Leonora line from Kalgoorlie to Leonora and the section of the Great Southern Railway from Northam to Narrogin.
"There has been extensive damage to the rail network, including embankments, track structures, and access roads," the spokesperson explains.
"Brookfield Rail’s teams are working to assess the extent of the situation and plan for safe restoration of the railway and train operations as soon as possible.
"Where conditions have allowed site preparation activities and recovery and restoration works have commenced and operations have resumed on some lines.
"In some areas the extent of the damage to rail infrastructure is still unclear because of continued rainfall and the volume of water and as a result some sections of the freight rail network will remain closed until further notice."
A Pacific National spokesperson tells ATN its services to and from Perth halted on and hopes had been held that the line would reopen at 1pm today.
"It’s incredibly frustrating for our managers," the spokesperson says adding that they will liaise with customers and working through the backlog will take some time.
While the floods came after a record harvest, storages are full and much grain remained to be transported to port, an issue for agribusiness CBH, which looks after most of the grain logistics in the state.
"Over the last four days CBH Group has been working with Brookfield Rail and Main Roads to determine the extent of damage across our network and minimise any impacts," a CBH spokesperson tells ATN.
"One of our receival sites received significant flooding.
"With waters having now receded, we are currently working with insurers to ascertain the extent of any damage to both infrastructure and grain.
Over the next few days we will be outloading grain held on site which will help us understand how much grain may have been lost."
The grain in storage and the infrastructure is covered under insurance, so any impact of this extraordinary weather event will not be passed on to growers but the floods have been indiscriminate in damaging transport infrastructure for both modes.
"Our main concern is the impact the floods have had on both road and rail networks," the CBH spokesperson says.
"The Albany zone has endured significant rail damage which is expected to take some time to repair, although an exact timeframe is not clear at this stage.
"Similarly, Kwinana has also been impacted however we expect normal operations to resume later this week.
"The floods have caused significant damage to roads in the Esperance zone, however we have been able to operate road programs in the central and Eastern part of the zone.
"Across all zones we are making the most of the road networks we have available.
"We also have a significant stockpile of grain in storage at port which has kept the most immediate shipping programs underway.
"There may be slight delays to the next wave of shipping schedules, however we are continuing to move grain from upcountry sites via both the road and rail networks which remain available."
Livestock fleets join ALRTA National Council
The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has announced that livestock operators – Stockmaster (New South Wales), J.S. Transport Group (New South Wales), and Trans Australian Livestock (South Australia) – have joined the organisation’s National Member Chapter.
The three livestock companies will join existing members, Victoria’s O'Sullivans Livestock Transport and Frasers Livestock Transport in Queensland. The Chapter now has five members that together operate several hundred trucks right across rural and regional Australia.
“The ALRTA National Council welcomes the opportunity to cooperatively address the unique challenges facing rural, regional and remote road transport in Australia.”
Electronic Boxes in our Trucks
We have all become used to electronic boxes in our trucks. The number of devices and functions available can be confusing for the trucking industry now. On the evidence of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress, held in Melbourne, we are about to be hit with a veritable tsunami of devices and systems, all designed to help us be safer and more productive.
There is some good news, however, the next phase of the electronification (is that even a word?), of transport is likely to cost vehicle owners less and give us some real productivity gains. The development of ITS is all about making the roads safer and less congested. Using onboard electronics along with connected road infrastructure to use communication and interconnected systems to make the roads safer for all.
The world of ITS can be a bewildering fog of acronyms and buzz-words for the outsider, but some practical, hands-on demonstrations set up on public roads in Melbourne give the outsider some idea of what the future may look like and what the possibilities for the freight industry might be.
The trucking industry has got a handle on the intricacies of telematics in the last ten years, and had to live with the expense of paying for a box in the trucks and then paying monthly fees to use it. The ITS revolution is also about boxes in the truck and connectivity, but it has completely different implications, applications and, happily, no monthly fee.
ITS is going to be all about connectivity, not between truck and base, but between truck and car or truck and traffic light, in fact communication with everything on the road around it.
This is the difference, the communication is on a simple level and sees the truck telling those around it on the road, how fast it is travelling, how big or heavy it is and in which direction it is travelling. At the same time, cars around the truck are sending out the same information. The vehicles will flag warnings if the data received suggests the risk of a collision.
All of this information will also be picked up by roadside units at junctions or at other sites. They will also broadcast what they know, like what colour the traffic lights are in each direction. They can also broadcast warnings from further afield to the cars in their area.
All of this information will also be available to traffic controllers in infrastructure like tunnels bridges or in bust city locations. Decisions on lane closures, traffic light sequences and traffic flows will be made by both humans and computers based on the data gleaned from road side stations and, anonymously, from the vehicles on the roads.
The event horizon for this technology taking hold in Australia is closer than we think. In 2017, a number of car manufacturers, GM for one, will be fitting the ITS-ready chips in all of its new cars, as standard. At the same time, governments are looking at the much improved safety outcomes and reduced congestion and starting to money into the whole idea.
Recent history should tell us, once new technology like this takes hold it can become ubiquitous in a flash. Smartphones were sci fi ten years ago, now everybody has one, and couldn’t live without one. ITS could follow a similar arc.
Industry calls for better cooperation from TWU on safety for truckies
Transport groups have expressed frustration at being left out of a safety summit organised by the Transport Workers Union.
The national summit of truckies, academics and politicians looked at a safety report by Macquarie University which was critical of the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
It was abolished last year amid intense criticism from owner-operator businesses concerned it would send them broke by increasing pay rates.
The president of South Australian Road Transport Association, Steve Shearer, was annoyed that his and other transport organisations were not invited or not told about last week's summit.
They included the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Australian Trucking Association and the National Road Transport Association.
Mr Shearer claimed they had been left out.
"The union only wants to work with people who agree precisely with what the union wants," he said
"It looks very much like the unions had a summit with its friends and nobody else, now that's not a credible summit.
"It wouldn't deal properly with the issues."
The TWU said other transport groups were invited but could not attend the summit.
It had arranged later meetings to inform them of the summit's outcomes while acknowledging their importance toward a safer heavy transport industry.
Tribunal needs to 'eliminate tight scheduling'
The Macquarie University report said a tribunal was needed to eliminate tight scheduling, unpaid work and inadequate pay rates.
The report included a survey of truck drivers which found 80 per cent worked more than 50 hours per week with some working more than 80 hours.
It also found some owner-drivers were reluctant to refuse an unsafe load.
Current regulations meant a driver could log up to 72 driving-hours in a week while extra accreditation provided for a driver to log up to 84 hours in a seven-day period.
Mr Shearer said the weekly limits were created with help from fatigue researchers and had seen serious injury and fatality rates fall dramatically since their introduction.
Could you be the next Outback Truckers star?
Could you be the next Yogi? Outback Truckers is definitely an entertaining watch, truckie or not, and they're on the lookout for drivers!
The producers of Outback Truckers are on the lookout for owner-drivers that operate in rural areas and cart difficult freight.
The call out for talent comes as Season 5 approaches.
The below post was shared to the Owner//Driver Facebook page and if you're interested, we would recommend you comment on the post or send a message to the Outback Truckers - Official Facebook page.
NHVR pushes to modernise heavy vehicle modifications
National regulator calls to industry for feedback, in a bid to modernise heavy vehicle modifications
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) seeks feedback from the transport industry on today's updated draft of the Vehicle Standards Bulletin (VSB) 6: National Code of Practice for Heavy Vehicle Modifications.
NHVR safety director Daniel Elkins says VSB6 sets the national standard for common modifications performed to heavy vehicles.
The proposed changes substantially modernise VSB6 to guide industry through common modifications performed to heavy vehicles," Elkins says.
"We want to hear more from industry on how we can make it easier for the heavy vehicle industry to modify their vehicles, this is an industry standard so their input is critical.
"As the national standard, VSB6 is used throughout Australia by individuals involved in the modification of heavy vehicles."
Elkins insists it ensures modified heavy vehicles are safe and that they comply with relevant Australian Design Rules (ADR's) and in-service vehicle standards regulations.
"In July 2015, we commenced a comprehensive review of VSB6," he adds.
"This was conducted in partnership with modification experts, state and territory transport authorities vehicle and component manufacturers and national industry associations.
"We focused on ensuring VSB6 represents the professional nature of the industry, adopts performance based requirements that are clear, reflects current vehicle design and construction, and allows for certification of a wide range of common modifications."
The draft VSB6 will be available for review until March 17. The public consultation draft is available at www.nhvr.gov.au/VSB6.
Pluto LNG to be trucked to Pilbara mines
Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman told WestBusiness yesterday that design work had started for a facility to load trucks with LNG at the company’s Pluto plant, near Karratha.
It is part of a staged development of new markets designed to give Woodside greater control over the market for its fuels.
Mr Coleman said LNG was traditionally delivered in a big ship, into big tanks and then into big pipelines.
Woodside looked at alternative markets and found latent demand for LNG partly driven by the desire to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The product was highly sought after but not accessible,” he said.
For new markets the industry needed to “break bulk” and deliver LNG in the quantities customers wanted.
“It is no use ... telling them what they should do. What you’ve got to do is actually demonstrate it,” he said.
The first tangible demonstration of the market shift arrives in Australia soon — an LNG-powered marine support vessel to join Woodside’s fleet.
Mr Coleman said Woodside planned to change its entire fleet of 16 marine support vessels to LNG over the next five years.
The vessel will get its LNG from other suppliers for a few months until Woodside’s LNG truck-loading facility at Pluto is ready.
The facility will allow trucks not only to deliver LNG to the vessel’s jetty but also to the iron ore industry’s diesel-powered trucks, locomotives and electricity stations.
Mr Coleman also sees remote communities and hospitals as potential customers.
“I can put it on the back of a flatbed truck with an ISO container and go on and just replace it like you do with your gas bottle,” he said.
Mr Coleman sees fuelling the iron ore carriers as “the big prize”, hence the joint industry project with BHP, Rio Tinto and others announced this week.
LNG-filled barges moored off Dampier and Port Hedland would allow the iron carriers to load their fuel. A small coastal tanker could supply the Port Hedland barge, he said.
Mr Coleman said small coastal tankers could service Indonesia’s diesel-dependent islands.
CGU and Suncorp focus marine insurance in NTI
Three firms consolidate hull, cargo and goods in transit coverage
The equal owners of National Transport Insurance (NTI) are ensuring it lives up to its name, joining their marine offerings with its marine cargo product.
Better known for its deep focus on the trucking industry, NTI entered marine cargo coverage in March 2014,
Now joint owners IAG’s CGU and Suncorp’s Vero have launched a new entity, Marine Protect: Powered by NTI,
"NTI is already a leader in delivering insurance solutions for the heavy motor and logistics industries and it will now become the truly definitive holistic freight logistics insurer in Australia," Anthony Day, Insurance CEO at Suncorp, says.
From April, marine insurance specialists from CGU and Vero will move to NTI’s Marine Protect.
Marine Protect will be led by ?Suncorp’s present executive manager corporate and risk managed underwriting Andrew Kidd, with senior leadership support provided by CGU national underwriting manager Chris Kelsey and CGU national marine claims manager Mike Sullivan.
All three organisations are working together to ensure key relationships stay in place and intermediaries and customers continued to be serviced by the same experienced teams.
NTI will be contacting intermediaries in the coming weeks to provide more detailed information and support.
Asked if there was any likelihood of the partners rationalising their commercial vehicle coverage in the same way, a Suncorp spokesperson played down the chances, saying its vehicle offerings were wrapped up with broader deals with particular customers.
Alarm at flood damaged regional road network
Federal emergency funds call to cover arc of destruction through north and west of country
Western Australian and Northern Territory freight industry bodies have called for urgent federal funds to tackle road and related infrastructure damage from widespread floods.
Bridges and sealed and unsealed roads have borne the brunt of unrelenting heavy rains and resultant floods in a broad crescent between eastern NT and eastern WA.
Parts of the Pilbara, Goldfields-Esperance and Swan Valley have reportedly been declared disaster areas
NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) president Michael Swart said trucking operators are feeling the financial impact of the wide spread work restrictions and yesterday it emerged that Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) has temporarily closed its Livingstone abattoir due to lack of stock as cattle stations are isolated.
"With so many Territory roads now closed this will have wider ramifications for the local economy," Swart says.
"The flood damage may not have come about due to a cyclone or natural disaster but it is imperative that the Federal Government urgently directs funding relief to undertake urgent repairs of critical regional roads, which are the lifeblood of the Territory."
NTRTA executive officer Louise Bilato says the sight of so many trucks parked up at the Daly Waters road house due to the temporary closure of the Stuart Highway "sent a shiver down the spine of most Territorians reliant as ever on road trains for their freight supplies. It also served to highlight the precarious balancing act between meeting freight demand and protecting our precious, water logged, road infrastructure.
"However, the bulk of our unsealed road network remains closed after an unprecedented, heavy and very persistent rainfall since late December."
Bilato commends the "swift actions" taken by the Territory’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics in difficult circumstances to divert road funding and allow urgent flood repairs to get underway on critical roads.
"It’s unlikely any unsealed road could have withstood the heavy drenching and steady top up rainfalls experienced over the past six weeks but it is the sheer length of time that the Tanami road has now been closed, which is causing the greatest disruption for local communities and pastoralists as well as the Granites gold mine," she says.
While much of the focus has been to the north of the country, eastern parts of WA have also been hit hard.
WARTA is calling on the federal government to provide immediate funding assistance to both the state and local governments to accelerate the repair of freight routes.
"Major damage to both sealed and gravel roads that form the arteries of WA’s freight logistics distribution have been severely damaged in many places from the Kimberley to Esperance," executive officer Cam Dumesny says.
"It is completely unrealistic for many regional and rural shires to fund the immediate repairs required."
WARTA says it has previously been critical of successive federal governments for on-going trend of declining maintenance funding of the WA regional and rural freight routes that support 40 per cent of Australia’s export income.
"The Federal Government needs to respond immediately with funding assistance to enable repairs to start as soon as practical," Dumesny says.
Trident this month's Spitwater Rig of the Month winner
Ricky Jones' nice-looking Mack Trident takes the prize this issue for the Spitwater Big Rig of the Month.
A VERY nice-looking Mack Trident takes the prize this issue for the Spitwater Big Rig of the Month.
Ricky Jones entered the truck in our ongoing competition and has cleaned up the competition for February.
Looking like it's just comeoff the salesroom floor,the truck is more than three years old and the body/dog tipper combo runs quarry and landscaping products around Victoria and southern New South Wales.
A November 2013 build, the bulldog Trident is powered by a six-cylinder in-line Mack engine driving through an mDrive automated transmission.
The seven-axle combination is set to PBS specifications, giving a gross weight of 56 tonnes with a payload of 37.5 tonnes.
Allstone Quarries is based in the Victorian town of Eaglehawk, processing hauling and retailing a range of products from quarrying, premix and pre-cast concrete productsto garden and landscaping.
Obviously Ricky prides himself on the presentation of the Trident, an advertisement on wheels for the quarry company.
Truckie swept into flooded Pilbara river
A driver has escaped his three-trailer truck after it was swept into a fast-flowing river in Western Australia's drenched Pilbara region.
The truck was two-thirds of the way across a 150-metre river crossing on Saturday when floodwaters pushed the truck and trailers sideways off the edge of the road and into the Nullagine River, police say.
With the first two trailers submerged and the water up to the cabin doors, the 38-year-old driver needed to escape out a window and swim downstream towards the riverbank.
Police on Sunday said the driver was uninjured but his truck remains submerged in the river, 220km southeast of Port Hedland.
"Due to the danger posed by the floodwaters the truck will not be recovered until the water subsides," a police spokesman said in a statement.
The river crossing had been closed due to the danger posed by the continuous rain in the area but the truck driver attempted the passage nevertheless.
Queensland set to toughen drink driving laws
IT'S a fear plenty of truckies have.
A driver who's had one too many drinks gets behind the wheel and loses control. They crash into a truck and the consequences are devastating.
Well those who do hop in the driver's seat when they're over the limit are facing a future with much tougher penalties in Queensland.
The State Government released a discussion paper on Wednesday proposing major changes to the laws governing drink driving offences.
The paper proposes either entirely abolishing restricted work licences for drink driving offenders, or tightening eligibility.
It also recommends a mandatory online training course for first-time offenders and a face-to-face course for repeat offenders.
None of these recommendations are set in stone.
The public has until March 7 to have their say on the paper before they move closer to becoming law.
Truckies and other road users can read the paper and fill in a survey on it here.
Truck tolls build Transurban interim profit rise
Half-year result sees profit up 42 per cent on previous first half
The firm that is increasingly becoming city trucking’s bete noir, toll road operator Transurban, has seen a significant input from trucks boost its interim results.
Its first half results show earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 12.1 per cent to $817 million, while total toll revenue rose 10.9 per cent to $1,065 billion.
Net profit was up 42 per cent to $88 million.
Road operating costs rose 12.2 per cent compared with the previous year’s first half, to $166 million and construction costs rose 156 per cent to $274 million.
In Sydney, it states that "large vehicle toll multipliers are now at three times cars on the Lane Cove Tunnel (LCT), M5 and Westlink M7".
For the second quarter, large vehicle average daily traffic (ADT) rose 2.6 per cent compare with 2.6 per cent for cars.
"Revenue on the M7 increased by 18.7% for the December quarter," the company reports.
"This was largely due to the increase in the large vehicle toll multiplier during the December quarter to 2.78 times the car toll.
"The multiplier reached 3 [sic] times the car toll on 1 January 2017."
For Melbourne, where toll revenue rose 2.7 per cent to $340 million, it notes the controversial hike on heavy vehicles and that of total ADT, car traffic decreased 3.5 per cent and large vehicle traffic increased 14.4 per cent for the quarter.
However, much of that increase was due to a vehicle classifications review that reclassified a number of cars as light commercial vehicles.
In Brisbane, where toll revenue rose 31.6 per cent to $193 million, of total ADT, car traffic increased 20.2 per cent and large vehicle traffic increased 16.8 per cent, the latter excluding AirportlinkM7, car traffic increased 1.1 per cent and large vehicle traffic increased 5.1 per cent.
CityLink remains the firm’s biggest provider of revenue, at $340 million for the half, more than double Sydney’s M2 at $138 million, itself about 40 per cent the next most productive asset, Sydney’s M7 at $98 million.
"We currently have a $9 billion pipeline of development projects, which are all on time and on budget," CEO Scott Charlton says.
"Our balance sheet has capacity to fund our development pipeline, with the Western Distributor the only project in our current pipeline potentially requiring additional equity post financial close.
Hankook snaps up Australian tyre firm JAX
Move marks second deeper South Korean manufacturer push into local market in a matter of months
South Korean tyre manufacturer Hankook Tire has bought Australian firm JAX Tyres, hard on the heels of Hyundai’s truck market re-entry late last year.
The move comes more than four years after Hankook appointed JAX as its first national retailer.
JAX, gained from chairman Ian Hurrell and CEO Jeff Board for an undisclosed sum, sells car and commercial vehicle tyres and the purchase is part of Hankook’s global expansion plans.
"We will solidify the position as the global top tier brand by extending the role of the holding company," Hankook Tire vice chairman and global CEO Seung Hwa Suh says.
"We will concentrate more on enhancing global competitiveness by diversifying the inorganic business in the automotive sector based on organic growth of tyre."
Hankook has ambitions to expand into services here and the language appears to indicate some serious investment will be used to attain its goals.
"With the acquisition, Hankook Tire group plans to grow into a global top-tier company by expanding customer relationships and strengthening its competitiveness in the B2C distribution sector as a mainstay of new business, as an extension of the B2B characteristics of tire manufacturing industry," the company says.
"Especially, the company is designed to strengthen its distribution competitiveness from Asia to the global market by applying an advanced franchise system to its distribution network.
"Hankook Tire will expand its growth model not only from the hardware-oriented business such as a plant establishment but also the software’s growth including distribution channels and premium services.
Hankook Tire plans to achieve a "win-win" outcome, whereby JAX Tyres can achieve continued growth by the strengthening and expansion of existing stores, further enhancement of both online capabilities and of the premium image and offers of JAX Tyres products and services.
"Hankook Tire anticipates large-scale synergies regarding this transaction, with the combination of JAX Tyres’ franchise system and Hankook Tire’s global footprint.
"The acquisition will provide Hankook Tire with an opportunity to expand in non-tyre business segments, by pursuing initiatives in light repairs and other new product and service segments."
JAX operates 83 franchise stores and Hankook notes its digital sales strategy as an attraction.
"This deal, combining Hankook Tire’s global position and the JAX business system is a timely opportunity given the market’s noticeable trend to vertical slimming and integration, stimulated by the power of online and B2B/B2C opportunities and we look forward to realising significant opportunities afforded by this deal, both in Australia and elsewhere," Board says.