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ALC Forum: CBD freight challenges and possibilities
Disproportionate investment in regional versus urban freight planning
Parcel storage zones in CBDs for e-commerce delivery can improve efficiency and reduce congestion in some of the busiest streets in Australian cities, Australia Post/StarTrack operations director Chris Bresnahan says.
The suggestion was part of a discussion focusing on the challenges of CBD freight delivery during the ongoing Australian Logistics Council (ALC) in Melbourne.
The session included three other speakers: Bestrane MD David Sanders, University of Melbourne’s Department of Infrastructure Engineering associate professor Russell Thompson, and Melbourne Metro Rail Authority director of development & delivery Peter Wilkinson.
The panel discussed ongoing challenges and potential plans to improve freight delivery in the CBDs.
A bourgeoning e-commerce market is seeing problems related to road congestion on busy streets that were not designed to handle this sudden increase in freight vehicles, Bresnahan says.
With an increasing number of people getting their parcels delivered at work, the problem of road congestion has increased as delivery drivers spend more time looking for loading and parking bays.
Creating low-cost parcel delivery hubs will cut the time drivers spend navigating through busy streets, both driving and walking, Bresnahan suggests.
He says there is lack of planning, both in terms of freight vehicle movement on roads and in terms of lack of the number and size of loading zones in CBDs.
Dedicated short-term parcel locking areas in places such as apartment buildings, train stations and service stations can be an easy resolution to this problem.
Storage areas on trains stations can also be a way of building revenue for Metro rail, Bresnahan suggests.
Grattan Institute transport program director Marion Terrill, who chaired the session, and Bresnahan say authorities must give more thought to freight movement in urban areas.
Currently, the political focus is on regional zones but it is the urban areas that are seeing "more growth", Terrill says.
"Investment is not occurring where the pressure is greatest – between ports and city centres."
There is "disproportionate" investment in regional New South Wales and Queensland and, with population growth expected to increase in the next decades, freight delivery will be under more pressure in urban areas.
Sanders says technology can help prioritise deliveries, which can also reduce congestion on urban streets.
He suggests information related to loading zones can help drivers coordinate their route and save time looking around for appropriate loading zones.
Knowing where a loading/delivery bay is and knowing the traffic situation in an area in real time can support drivers increase efficiency.
The panel agrees that there should be more discussion and planning, both in infrastructure and technology improvements, to improve productivity.
Truckie hay run saving grace for farmers
More than 200 tonnes of hay and stock feed supplies, as well as $100,000 worth of fencing gear was delivered to fire-stricken Uarbry and Leadville farms in the upper Hunter region of New South Wales on February 26.
More than 150 volunteers and multiple trucking companies banded together to deliver the hay and fencing supplies to farms ravaged by the Sir Ivan fires.
The day kicked off with the 55-vehicle-strong convoy, led by the Kingdon Ponds Rural Fire Service, taking off through the thankful streets of Scone.
From Scone the volunteers dispersed, delivering hay to 13 farms in the Cassilis and Coolah regions, while fencing crews worked hard at eight properties along the decimated stretch of land between Uarbry and Leadville.
Brad Smith, one of four event organisers, says the day was a huge success, but there’s still so much more work to be done.
"Our crews worked for about nine hours yesterday and repaired in excess of 6kms of destroyed fencing," Brad said.
"But on just one property we visited, the farmer has over 70kms of fencing that has been destroyed, so there’s still so much more we would like to do.
"One of the farms we visited simply had nothing left - Their house and outbuildings were gone, their machinery, tools, stock feed; everything had gone up in flames.
"It was a lot of organisation and work leading up to the weekend, but seeing the smiles and the hope return to the farmers made every bit of hard work all the more worthwhile."
With so much more work to be done, the team plans to organise another weekend in the coming months to continue rebuilding fences in Uarbry and Leadville.
"The work we did yesterday saved one farmer a month’s worth of work, so if we can get more donations and more people to volunteer their time, we can make a huge impact in restoring these people’s lives," Brad said.
Everything is on a Big Scale in the Pilbara
Everything is on a big scale in the Pilbara for the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, the distances involved are huge and the tonnages needing to be moved are enormous. Even though much of the iron ore arrives at the port on rail transport and the gas is piped out to the ships offshore, there is still a massive amount of freight needing to be moved by road, just to service the mining infrastructure and workforce working here.
The madness of the construction phase for these enormous iron and gas installations has passed, but Karratha is still a very busy town. Much of its business is busy developing the capability to service the needs of the resources industry projects now running in the region.
One of the businesses involved in this service industry is Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, whose striking pink trucks are instantly noticed by other road users out on the highways of the Pilbara and on the roads down and back to Perth.
The trucks themselves are part of an initiative by Volvo Trucks to tackle the problems of driver supply and retention in the Australian trucking industry. The donation of two trucks, a Volvo FH 16 and a Mack Superliner, was announced earlier this year, at the ITTES in Melbourne by Volvo Group Australia President, Peter Voorhoeve, as part of his campaign to improve the lot of truck drivers and get proper training and qualifications up, in the industry.
The donation of the trucks was in recognition of the great work being done by Heather Jones in Karratha. She has been a lone voice in the Pilbara wilderness for a number of years. however, with Volvo’s involvement, it seems someone is finally listening to her ideas and interested in her methods.
I have been really drowning for the last sixteen years, trying to do this by myself,” says Heather. “No matter what you say, they agree it’s a good idea, but let you do it yourself. With Volvo on board now, I am very excited. I love safety and I love safe trucks. These are easy trucks to teach in, so it’s a good match for me.”
The heart of the philosophy is in evidence when Diesel News visited Heather and her team at the PHHG headquarters in Karratha. These are working trucks and the task at hand is running two triples out to a large gas installation site and removing the garbage a small town of 7,500 souls generates.
The difference is, the drivers of these trucks and the way the job is handled. At any one time there can be trainees working on the job. The first stage sees them observe, sitting in the passenger seat and learning how the job is done properly. The next stage is to handle the simpler tasks with an experienced driver at their side helping out and checking everything is done right and the final stage involves the driver tackling the complete task, on their own to an extent, but monitored to ensure safety and efficiency.
It’s as simple as that, just a matter of giving someone with the license to drive a truck the skill set to actually do the job properly and be a useful member of the trucking community. The principle here is, you have got your license, now you need to learn how to be a truck driver.
The new face of heavy vehicle maintenance
Disruption isn’t just limited to the digital economy. Sandro Tranquim is changing the concept of heavy vehicle maintenance with entrepreneurial spirit and the mindset of a global citizen.
Sandro Tranquim’s role model isn’t your everyday business icon. Where most people his age would likely refer to Tesla’s Elon Musk, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, or maybe even Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the 39-year-old is inspired by Linfox patriarch, Lindsay Fox.
Starting out with just one truck in 1956, a Ford F500 V8, the now 80-year-old has created one of the largest logistics firms in the world, with 36,000 employees in 11 countries and annual revenue in excess of $6 billion, according to Business Insider.
Just as Lindsay Fox disrupted the transport sector half a century ago, Sandro is hoping to change the traditional notion of heavy vehicle maintenance with his family-run operation, Tranquim, based out of Melbourne’s west.
Born in Mozambique and raised in Zimbabwe, Sandro was trained in the auto-electrical trade by his father before receiving formal training as an engineering technician in the UK, which equipped him with the necessary skills and ambition to establish a small business in Western Australia. In late 2015, he then relocated to Victoria with the goal to rebuild his business from scratch – and make Lindsay Fox proud.
The reason for the risky move, Sandro says, is that the somewhat stagnant heavy vehicle maintenance industry is in dire need of an overhaul, especially with regards to technology, customer service and team culture. As such, the revamped business’s point of difference is to remove the pain from the process, as he puts it, regardless how big or small the job.
To do so, he has put his company on wheels: A fleet of three fully equipped service vans is now travelling Victoria 24/7 to provide high quality repair and maintenance services “and make our customers smile,” he says. Focusing on auto-electrical, mechanical and air-conditioning repairs across the waste management, haulage and earthmoving industries, Sandro says the business has grown from a one-man operation to four full-time staff in the first year alone.
Major accounts like JJ Richard’s, Shredex and other blue-chip industry players now work with the Melbourne-based family man, who is quick to admit the business is not just a passion project, but also a means to provide for his family and help fund care for a health issue currently plaguing his youngest child.
To set the business up for future growth – and build a strong foundation for his family – Sandro is acutely aware that he has to cater to his customers’ increasing sense of mobility. With research indicating that wearable technology and digital aids will transform technician productivity in the future, for example, he is already looking for ways to bring new app-based systems to the business in a move to deliver a competitive and professional service that is different to what the truck industry is used to.
Apart from technology, Sandro is also leveraging his natural leadership capabilities and family values. His greatest mentor was his father, Antonio, he says, who not only helped him develop a passion for vehicle mechanics from his own, small auto-electrical business in Zimbabwe, but also fostered the entrepreneurial and analytical mindset Sandro’s business is now benefitting from.
Building on that foundation, Sandro has been able to foster a friendly, yet entrepreneurial, culture across his team that is based on ‘serving’ in the original sense of the word. This implies training his technicians to act “professionally, patiently, and with kindness,” he says.
Training and continuous improvement also play an important role in Sandro’s personal development: While it is often argued that entrepreneurs achieve their success from trial and error, hard work, or having the right talent, Sandro is of the view that education plays an equally integral part in the success of a young aspiring entrepreneur. Equipped with numerous certificates and qualifications which he acquired in the UK, Sandro advanced his formal training in Australia. In addition to having the necessary trade qualifications in auto-electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as air-conditioning, he is proud to now also be a specialist in tracking systems, vehicle security and auto steering. As a true global citizen with cross-cultural experience and the right education, Sandro hopes he is well set to bring a breath of fresh air to a stagnant industry.
Brisbane Truck Show tickets on sale now
HVIA chief says this year’s show is a ‘landmark’ for many reasons
Tickets are now on sale for the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 25-28.
Show manager Noelene Bradley says this year’s event will feature new trucks, trailers and transport equipment.
"There have been some high-profile releases recently and they’ll all be on display, offering visitors a chance to get into the cabs and compare features and build quality," Bradley says.
"There are also more trailers and equipment than ever before, with loads of exciting innovation on display.
"Everything from PBS tippers and tankers to livestock crates.
"Add to that three levels of engines, components, equipment, technology, and support services. There is a lot to see, so most people will come for a couple of days."
The Brisbane Truck Show is presented by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) every two years.
HVIA chief executive Brett Wright says this year’s show is a "landmark" for a number of reasons.
"The 2017 event celebrates fifty years of the Brisbane Truck Show and that in itself is significant," Wright says.
"It has always been an industry owned and run show, however for the first time the ownership is now national.
"Since the last show CVIAQ has evolved to become Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia, prosecuting a national agenda on behalf of our industry, and with offices set up around the country.
"In advancing the interests of our members, HVIA’s priorities include delivering world-class events that foster innovation, and showcase and promote the latest heavy vehicles and their components, equipment and technology.
"The Brisbane Truck Show has a long and proud history, and we continue to build and evolve the event to deliver value to our members and the broader industry."
The show will host over 300 industry exhibitors and up to 35,000 attendees from around the world, over the four-day period.
"Whilst we will take this opportunity to pay tribute to show’s history and especially the world-class innovation that has led us to this point," Wright says.
"This year’s event will primarily look forward, featuring the heavy vehicle industry innovation centre, showcasing technology, engineering, manufacturing and innovation."
The innovation centre will feature interactive displays, demonstrations and information sessions.
The displays will showcase industry design and manufacturing innovations, and research and development success stories, and help connect businesses with support programs and services.
"In addition, we are about to launch the new Brisbane Truck Show Awards, to showcase the best of the last two year’s design, engineering and manufacturing innovation and achievements," Wright says.
"The awards will be presented at a cocktail event on the opening evening of the show."
The event will also feature the inaugural HVIA National Apprentice Challenge, which involves three regional teams work simultaneously, on identical trucks supplied by Fuso Australia, to identify and rectify a series of programmed faults.
Visitors are advised to take advantage of the online ticketing options through the Truck Show website.
"As always, we’ve kept prices down, including concessions and free entry for under 18’s." Bradley says.
"That makes it a very affordable visit for the whole family, especially given the venue’s location in the heart of Brisbane’s South Bank precinct."
For more information, visit the Brisbane Truck Show website.
Waste carter bill stands despite huge mark-up on quote
A rough estimate of $16,000 to shift land waste ends up costing $216,000
A customer has failed in court to get a 16,000 waste cartage estimate turned into a contract after the final bill came in just short of $216,000 and it refused to pay.
The District Court of Western Australia has ruled that the earth-moving company JW Cross’ rough quote to Parkridge Group for work using trucks and an excavator was no more than that, even though the it proved erroneous and was made by an employee inexperienced in that particular estimate.
In such a case, the lack of a written contract for the job and similar evidence from witnesses allowed for use of JW Cross’ machinery, or other machinery if that was needed, along with disposal costs to be charged "in accordance to its schedule of rates".
JW Cross had taken Parkridge to court over non-payment, while Parkridge defended itself on verbal contract grounds and claimed negligence on the part of its agent, MPM Development Consultants.
The alleged fixed quote verbal contract had been made to an MPM employee and had been made before an issued involving asbestos contamination had arisen and therefore added costs.
Though Parkridge argued that there was no proof of contamination, Judge Simon Stone rejected that on expert evidence during the case.
On whether the initial conversation was an estimate or a fixed quote, Stone’s finding begins with a statement of fact that legal experts warn can be central to such cases, depending on the circumstances: "There was no written estimate or quote for the removal and disposal of the stockpiles and the cost of doing so."
He found that the oral estimate of the cost to remove and dispose of the stockpiles did not include the tipping fees that would be incurred and that meant a fixed price or quotation to carry out the work had not been given.
On the claim for loss and damage, the judged ruled that Parkridge had in fact lost nothing.
"If $215,976.49 is what JW Cross took to remove and dispose of the stockpiles, with its usual and reasonable rates which were competitive with other competitors in the industry, then that is what ultimately Parkridge would have paid someone else to remove and dispose of the stockpiles," the judgement states.
Given this, there could be no negligence claim on MPM, despite the lack of a written contract that MPM’s employee should have sought, because it could not have gained the removal service for less.
The risks related to verbal contracts run on both sides, with lawyers warning that such agreements can be enforceable and that the lack of written contracts can make them hard to enforce of even prove.
Australian law firm Sharrock Pitman notes that amongst other things, "there must be an intention by the parties to make a legally binding agreement".
Shiny New Trucks
Diesel News took a trip up to Cairns the day after the new Mercedes Benz Actros models had been unveiled to a large audience of 260 potential buyers, against a dramatic background of burning cane fields with shiny new trucks emerging from the sugar cane to a musical fanfare.
This was a first chance to look at the new trucks as they would appear in truck showrooms. The evaluation models driven in a couple of tests, reported earlier in Diesel News, had matt black wraps to disguise the trucks’ true shape and lessen the overall effect of the all new cabin design.
The opportunity to drive the new trucks confirms the impressions gained in earlier trials. The new engines have transformed the feel of an Actros from the driver’s point of view. Where the response from the V6 and V8 engines of the past could feel ponderous, the direct response to the right foot from the new engine represents a dramatic change.
Couple this with a smarter AMT, the third generation 12 speed Powershift, and the driving experience is much improved. The torque available from the new engine makes the choice of shift points less critical and enables more flexible gear changing strategies to be employed by the system. It can be a bit unnerving, when driving a fully loaded semi through a small town in North Queensland, to see the AMT stay in 12th gear and let the revs die down to around 800 rpm to hold 60 km/h through the town.
All of the electronic controls and safety systems have become more integrated into the driving style needed to get the best out of the new trucks. It is possible to keep all of the control for the driver, but activating active cruise control does take a lot of stress out of driving.
The roads of North Queensland are not the best, far from it, but the ride in the new trucks smooths it out as much as possible. In the biggest cabin option, with its flat floor and four step climb to the driver’s seat, there is none of the slop and sway which could be felt in earlier Actros models of over ten years ago.
It has been said before and will, no doubt be said again, the Mercedes Benz brand has under-performed in the Australian truck market over a long period since the 1418 Benz had its heyday. With these new models the German truck maker has its best opportunity for many years to show us just what it’s made of.
‘Doors rear’ or ‘doors front’? New Melbourne terminal makes life hard for truckies
Container transport operators have been working closely with Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) ahead of the arrival of the first laden ship to be stevedored at the new automated container terminal in Webb Dock, Melbourne.
“E.R. Long Beach” operating for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) on the Australia Express service to/from Asia, the Middle East and Europe, is due to berth at VICT on 26th February.
At 300 metres in length, with a width of 42m and a container capacity of 7,455 TEU, E.R. Long Beach presents challenges in accessing Swanson Dock due to her size. Hence, MSC is taking advantage of VICT’s ability to handle larger container ships without the need for the Yarra River passage.
“Export container receivals for the vessel commence in earnest from Monday, 20th February. This has necessitated container transport operators registering with VICT through 1-Stop to use the Vehicle Booking System (VBS), and drivers completing their on-line MSIC inductions (again through 1-Stop) before they can access the Terminal,” commented CTAA director Neil Chambers.
Road transport interface issues
The announcement that VICT was to welcome its first laden container vessel added emphasis to the discussions between CTAA Alliance companies and VICT on outstanding transport interface issues.
“We’ve got some major issues we are still working through collaboratively with senior management at VICT, ones that impact on truck servicing and productivity,” Mr Chambers noted.
“Key among these issues is the instruction from VICT that all containers be delivered ‘doors rear’. This accommodates the operation of the Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC) and the presentation of containers through the automated system to the ship’s side for loading ‘doors rear’. Similarly, import containers will be loaded onto trucks ‘doors rear’.
“Unfortunately though, this has major implications for road transport operators being compliant with heavy vehicle axle weight restrictions. In addition, it impacts on exporter and importer instructions where the container doors may need to be orientated differently, particularly when side-loaders are used.”
“In other Australian container terminals employing similar Stacking Crane technology (i.e. DP World, Port of Brisbane), the stevedore provides a service to turn boxes, with an associated fee. We want VICT to do the same.”
To assist in understanding the scale of the issue, CTAA is conducting a survey of Melbourne container transport operators to gauge the frequency of containers being delivered and picked up from stevedore terminals ‘doors front’.
“It’s a major issue, particularly for our heavy agricultural exports. We need to find a solution that doesn’t reduce landside productivity and efficiency, or drives up costs unduly,” Mr Chambers said.
Other issues being addressed include several fees to be imposed by VICT, and the management of container weight and truck weight information.
VICT will weigh all export containers, and will compare the declared weight against the actual weight recorded. Where the declared container verified gross mass (VGM) varies by more than 500kg, VICT will update the gross mass information used for ship loading.
“VICT planned to impose a charge of $130.00 on the container transport operator for the VGM update administration. In our view, however, the pre-receival advice (PRA) declarant should be charged this fee, as they are responsible by law to declare the VGM,” Mr Chambers said.
“Also, we are encouraging VICT to pass on mis-declared weights information to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for enforcement action.
“To its credit, VICT has agreed to suspend the VGM Update Fee whilst investigations continue as to how best to impose the fee on the parties responsible in the supply chain for the accurate declaration of export container gross mass,” Mr Chambers said.
“We are also working through the issue of the practical use of the truck weigh-in-motion devices that will provide axle group and overall vehicle weights to the driver as they depart the terminal.”
“We are assisting VICT to organise a discussion with VicRoads and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) about meeting their “loading manager” obligations under the Chain of Responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
“Given the considerable variables in axle and gross loading limits depending on vehicle combination, mass accreditation and permits, the heavy vehicle driver has the direct responsibility to ensure that they do not carry the load on a public road unless they are within the weight limits allowed. The weigh-in-motion read-out will provide accurate information to the driver. If containers need to be removed, the terminal is clearly entitled to charge for that additional service.” Neil Chambers said.
“The 1-Stop vehicle booking system (VBS) will also work differently at VICT than it does at the two incumbent stevedores in Melbourne. This may take some getting used to, and fleet controllers will need to become familiar with the differences.
“The good thing is that the ‘mad minute’ created by the daily time slot-drop orchestrated by the other stevedores is removed. However, for imports, you can only book a slot once the container is discharged and its yard position is known. The way transport companies schedule their fleet operations will need to adapt accordingly.
“With goodwill and continued communications, we are confident that we will be able to work with VICT collaboratively to smooth the land transport / terminal interface as operations at the new automated facility at Webb Dock get underway in earnest,” Mr Chambers said.
Huge trucks rolling down the highway may soon have no one at the wheel
Just how hot is the self-driving vehicle space?
So hot that if you're a sharp 21-year-old with robotics experience and some smart friends, you can land millions to start your own company.
Embark, a new self-driving truck startup that launched Friday, is the brainchild of University of Waterloo buddies Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, also 21.
The Canadian duo have been working on a self-driving truck since last summer, and in January received the necessary paperwork to test the rig on Nevada public highways. The truck so far has logged 10,000 miles.
The main player in this space, Uber-owned Otto, has laid out a vision that would find drivers resting comfortably in their cab bunks while the truck does the exit-to-exit highway driving. The truck's radar, laser-radar, cameras and algorithm-fed computers manage the job of highly sophisticated, cruise-control highway driving.
Embark also is aiming for an exit-to-exit solution, but it wants the trucks to run completely without humans until they are met by drivers at exit-point meet-up points.
"We want to focus on trucking as opposed to cars because we think this is an area with an acute problem to solve, namely a shortage of long-haul drivers," says Rodrigues.
"No one really wants to be away from home for long periods of time, and there's a 10x turnover rate for those drivers compared to people who work locally."
He adds that "the better paying jobs are also the local jobs, so the idea is the drivers would be in a staging area just on the freeway and take care of bringing the goods to their final destination."
The exact amount of Embark's seed round is private, but investors include Maven Ventures and SV Angels. Although the team numbers only 10 so far, including veterans of SpaceX and Audi, Rodrigues isn't worried about competition from Otto.
"There's a long way to go still, and I don't think it's the kind of race where the first person to develop the best tech wins," he says. "It will likely come down to having the best partnerships and working with regulators."
Embark's changes may have just improved. On Thursday, Waymo, formerly known as Google's self-driving car company, sued Otto, charging that that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Google's program, stole proprietary sensor data that was used as the basis for Otto's tech.
Silicon Valley is known for meteoric rises, but Rodrigues is pushing the envelope. He built his self-driving golf cart in his parents' garage less than two years ago for $10,000.
But the multi-billion-dollar industry he's diving into is particularly frothy and eager for solutions, as both automakers (from Audi to Volvo) and tech companies (from massive Google-owned Waymo to tiny Drive.ai) fight to claim the best positions to profit from the coming autonomous car revolution.
Self-driving vehicle companies face a nest of issues in developing their product, including bad infrastructure (sensors often require good road markings to navigate) and rules that differ state to state (the California Department of Motor Vehicles is looking into allegations that Otto was testing illegally in California, although the company touted a successful 100-mile beer truck haul in Colorado).
Rodrigues says that Embark is hoping to add more self-driving trucks to its fleet this year as well as branch out into other states. Overall, he remains optimistic about both lawmaker and public adoption -- even though the scenario, to some, will seem like a horror movie plot starring robot trucks gone bad.
"NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) seems particularly data-driven and focused on saving lives," he says, noting that road deaths have suddenly started to rise in the past two years. "Eleven people die daily in heavy truck crashes. That's a number everyone wants to reduce."
As for humans being spooked by huge semis with no one at the helm, Rodrigues is convinced that familiarity ultimately will build acceptance.
"Living in Mountain View you always see Google and other company's self-driving cars running around," he says. "When we started to develop a self-driving shuttle van (during a pre-Embark venture), our neighbors thought absolutely nothing of it. Eventually, I think we'll all be that way passing a self-driving truck on the highway."
Smart Fuel Saving
When the second generation Stralis Hi-Way’ smart fuel saving was unveiled to the press (it went on to win the International Truck of the Year award for 2013) the Italians made great play of the fact that the driving force behind their new long-haul heavy was a major reduction in its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Here is a brief run down on the latest Stralis range from Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley.
Thanks to major savings in fuel the latest range-topping Stralis ‘XP’ (it stands for Extra Performance) offers long-haul operators significant reductions in CO? emissions too. So much so the clever marketing folk in Turin are calling their Stralis XP flagship a ‘TCO? Champion’…(TCO/TCO? geddit?)
Underneath the cab is where the major fuel-saving changes can be found, in particular the latest Euro 6 ‘C’ Hi-SCR Cursor 9, 11 and 13 in-line six diesels, which boast lower internal friction, thanks to re-profiled pistons and a revised ring pack, better thermal management, a new anti-idling function and, on selected long-haul Stralis XP variants, so-called ‘Smart’ engine auxiliaries to prevent parasitic losses when they’re not needed.
These include the clutch compressor and air-processing unit, an energy-recovery alternator with intelligent battery monitoring and a variable-flow steering pump. Smart ancillaries are definitely the in-thing for all the engine-makers right now, or at least until the next major step-change improvement in engine brake thermal efficiency comes along in the shape of waste-heat recovery, something Iveco is also working on.
The Euro 6 Cursor engine line-up remains virtually unchanged in terms of power and torque outputs. New arrivals are the 480hp top-rating on the Cursor 11 and the slightly-more powerful (by 10hp) range-topping 570 hp Cursor 13 (for Europe). Both feature what Iveco calls ‘Smart EGR’.
What the Italians have done on both these engines is to advance their injection timing to get better combustion and improved fuel economy. Naturally, the downside of advancing the timing is you create greater heat inside the combustion chamber, which produces more NOx. Not what you want.
However, by adding a small amount (only eight per cent) of exhaust gas recirculation back into the combustion chamber the engine-out NOx levels on the 480 and 570 Cursor remain the same as before, with the exhaust gases treated in the normal way by the Italian ’s Hi-SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system, without any change in AdBlue dosing levels.
The fuel savings of Smart EGR alone are roughly between 1 and 1.5 per cent. Other energy-saving engine enhancements include, the new reduced friction 2.47:1 Meritor back-axle (it’s the longest ratio in its class and lowers engine revs by seven per cent), the latest low-rolling resistance triple ‘A’ X-Line Energy Michelin eco tyres, plus the all-new Hi-Tronix 12-speed gearbox and the GPS-based Hi-Cruise predictive cruise control with eco-roll, and together they all add-up to 11 per cent fuel gain. Overall the new driveline changes represent a double-digit improvement over the previous Stralis.
Talking of the Stralis ’s latest Hi-Tronix two-pedal auto, it represents the very first installation of the all-new ‘TraXon’ automated transmission from ZF in a European heavy truck chassis. Hi-Tronix takes over the cog-swapping duties on the Stralis from the previous AS-Tronic auto, again supplied by ZF but called EuroTronic by Iveco.
Meanwhile, Iveco ’s chassis engineers have also got in on the act by completely redesigning the Stralis’s rear suspension which, while more durable is actually lighter to the tune of 45 kg. Higher resistance to corrosion, achieved with surface treatment of all key metallic components, means lower maintenance costs too. Last but not least, New Stralis has a completely new electrics and pneumatics layout which has helped bring repair and maintenance costs down by between five and eight per cent compared with the previous models, further underpinning Iveco’s commitment to reduce its overall TCO.
VIC highway safety upgrade complete
The $28.7 million safety upgrade to the Princes Freeway and Sand Road intersection in Longwarry, Victoria, is now complete and open to traffic.
According to Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, the project will provide a safer journey for the 25,000 vehicles that use the intersection each day.
“This interchange was one of regional Victoria’s worst black spots, with 60 crashes between 2000 and the end of 2015, resulting in three fatalities and several serious injuries,” he said.
“The intersection is now much safer, with new entry and exit freeway ramps seamlessly connecting local townships and service centres.”
Federal Member for McMillan, Russell Broadbent, said travel would be safer, easier and faster for road users between Gippsland and Melbourne along the Princes Freeway. “A major benefit of this project is the reinstatement of the 110 km/h speed limit, after it had been reduced in 2009 to 80km/h for the safety of motorists,” he said.
“The raising of the limit is welcome news to motorists and freight operators alike and will create a more consistent journey.”
Construction on the interchange started in October 2015. The Australian Government contributed $21.5 million and the Victorian Government $7.1 million to the project.
Australia’s premier transport industry event
Tickets are now on sale for Australia’s premier transport industry event, the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show. The event returns to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 25 to 28 May.
Show Manager Noelene Bradley says this year’s event raises the bar higher again, with the best and latest trucks, trailers and transport equipment filling the venue to the brim.
“Naturally there’s an expectation that any new trucks you’ve read about will be there,” Ms Bradley said. “There have been some high-profile releases recently and they’ll all be on display, offering visitors a chance to get into the cabs and compare features and build quality.”
“There are also more trailers and equipment than ever before, with loads of exciting innovation on display,” Ms Bradley added. “Everything from PBS tippers and tankers to livestock crates.
“Add to that three levels of engines, components, equipment, technology, and support services. There is a lot to see, so most people will come for a couple of days.”
“There are good reasons take advantage of our new online ticketing before arriving,” Ms Bradley said. “It will save you money and save you time at the door.”
The Brisbane Truck Show is presented by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), with the support of platinum partner BP Australia and media partner Bauer Trader Media.
HVIA Chief Executive Brett Wright says this year’s show is a landmark for a number of reasons.
“The 2017 event celebrates fifty years of the Brisbane Truck Show and that in itself is significant,” Mr Wright said.
“It has always been an industry owned and run show, however for the first time the ownership is now national.”
“Since the last show CVIAQ has evolved to become Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia, prosecuting a national agenda on behalf of our industry, and with offices set up around the country.
“In advancing the interests of our members, HVIA’s priorities include delivering world-class events that foster innovation, and showcase and promote the latest heavy vehicles and their components, equipment and technology,” Mr Wright explained.
“The Brisbane Truck Show has a long and proud history, and we continue to build and evolve the event to deliver value to our members and the broader industry.”
Held in HVIA’s Eastern Region every two years, the Brisbane Truck Show hosts over 300 industry exhibitors and attracts up to 35,000 attendees from around the world, over four days.
The event creates the equivalent of at least 269 full time employment positions and adds additional expenditure of over $70 million in output into the economy.
“Whilst we will take this opportunity to pay tribute to show’s history and especially the world-class innovation that has led us to this point,” Mr Wright added. “This year’s event will primarily look forward, featuring the Heavy Vehicle Industry Innovation Centre, showcasing technology, engineering, manufacturing and innovation.”
The Innovation Centre will feature dynamic and interactive displays and demonstrations and information. Displays will showcase industry design and manufacturing innovations, research and development success stories, and connect businesses with support programs and services.
“We are also about to launch the new Brisbane Truck Show Awards, to showcase the best of the last two year’s design, engineering and manufacturing innovation and achievements.
“The awards will be presented at a cocktail event on the opening evening of the show.”
Visitors will also be entertained by the frenetic energy of the inaugural HVIA National Apprentice Challenge. Until March 17, heavy vehicle mechanical apprentices from around Australia are able to nominate for an opportunity to represent their region in the “hands-on” competition.
The Apprentice Challenge has previously been a Queensland based competition and always entertains the crowds as three regional teams work simultaneously, on identical trucks, generously supplied by Fuso Australia, to identify and rectify a series of programmed faults as the clock ticks.
Ms Bradley encouraged all visitors to take advantage of online ticketing options with tickets are available directly from the Brisbane Truck Show website.
“As always, we’ve kept prices down, including concessions and free entry for under 18’s.” Ms Bradley said.
“That makes it a very affordable visit for the whole family, especially given the venue’s location in the heart of Brisbane’s South Bank precinct.
A comprehensive network of trains, buses and City Cat ferries link the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre with Brisbane city and suburbs.
From the airport hop on the Airtrain straight to the South Brisbane Railway Station. The same line continues to the Gold Coast. Statewide rail connections leave from Roma Street Station’s Transit Centre which is only one train stop away from South Bank.
“Hotel accommodation near the show is quickly becoming scarce, so I’d strongly encourage anyone that’s thinking about coming to lock it in now.”
“Just hit the link on the Brisbane Truck Show website homepage,” Ms Bradley suggests. “It will take you to a site of discounted hotels put together especially for the event.”
“It’s going to be an exciting event,” Ms Bradley said. “We are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the country to Brisbane.”
Linfox considers arterial routes to avoid CityLink
Clarifying earlier reports, company says it is looking at high-capacity urban roads to escape paying increased Melbourne toll
Linfox is considering alternative routes to avoid Melbourne’s CityLink network following the announcement to increase toll costs starting April 1.
The company says it is currently exploring options to use arterial roads in order to avoid using the 22km toll road network.
Referring to quotes attributed to founder Lindsay Fox in a report by the Herald Sun that suggested the company is looking at suburban route options to avoid CityLink, a company spokesperson tells ATN that the company is only considering high-capacity urban roads including many arterial roads that are designed to handle freight vehicles.
"The Herald Sun article indicates that we are going to bring trucks on all suburban roads, which is not exactly correct," the spokesperson says.
"We are considering using arterial roads to avoid using CityLink."
The Victorian Transport Association had predicted that the increased toll rule will trigger such a move from trucking operators.
The transport body has since released industry guidance for members on how to pass the increased costs to customers in a "fair" and "just" manner.
The Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) shares VTA’s opinion that the administrative costs must be passed on along the supply chain, and along with the Australian Trucking Association, it has expressed dismay at the decision by the state government and Transurban to pass the lion’s share of the hike on trucks.
Pacific Hwy fully reopens after truck inferno
UPDATE, 2.30pm: ALL lanes are reopened on the Pacific Highway after a nearly 12 hour operation to clear the roadway after a truck inferno.
Traffic is still being managed in the area.
Authorities are unsure how long the road closure may be in place.
UPDATE, 10.11am: ONE of two northbound lanes on the Pacific Highway has been reopened following a truck inferno earlier this morning.
Burnt out truck on Pacific Highway
Monday 8.55am: THE driver of his now charred truck watched on as emergency services move to clear the vehicle's remains and burnt cargo off the road way.
Rural Fire Service volunteers and Roads and Maritime are working quickly to re-open at least one of the northbound lanes on the Pacific Hwy.
The driver told the Northern Star he saw the flames erupt from the cab when he attempted to park the truck at the turning bay near Watsons Ln.
The driver than fled the vehicle onto the nature strip where he watched his vehicle and its goods become engulfed in the inferno.
An RMS official said It is unknown at this stage when the road will re-open.
Emergency services move in to clean up burnt out truck.
INITIAL Monday 7.44am: A TRUCK fire at 3am this morning has caused the Pacific Highway near Bangalow Road to be closed.
The vehicle was transporting beer and mixed goods.
The northbound lane is closed and motorists are being diverted on to the Hinterland Way in Tintenbar.
Emergency services are on the scene placing sand on the road and motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible.
Diversions are suitable for all vehicles.
Retired truckie gutted by damage to retro van
Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van.
MAKING the plea for public information, a retired truck driver from Ballina has described the vandalism of his retro van as gut wrenching.
Tony Baker, 60, discovered the 1988 Viscount Ambassador he lovingly refurbished after rescuing it from a paddock six year ago, coated in graffiti on Tuesday morning.
Returning home after two week trip from Noosa, Mr Baker and his wife found the car at 7.45am, covered in bright yellow spray paint.
Mr Baker claimed vandals targeted a two square metre Australian flag he hand-painted on the front of the vehicle with particular malice.
Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van. Contributed
"They've just gone around it with a can of yellow paint, just crazy, all over the white," Mr Baker said.
"There was an Australian flag on the front I painted, being an old proud aussie, and it was all painted over with yellow.
"It was as though they did it out of disgust, it's like they thought the Australian flag shouldn't be there."
An Australian themed beach surf mural on one side of the van, painted by Mr Baker's now passed away friend was also destroyed.