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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.
$350K to fund heavy vehicle safety
The Federal Government will commit $350,000 towards helping heavy vehicle industry bodies and small operators develop new safety regulations in response to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) new Industry Codes of Practice Guidelines.
“A registered Industry Code of Practice establishes standards for organisations across the heavy vehicle supply chain on how to operate at a higher safety standard. Businesses that adopt a new Code not only significantly reduce the risk of breaching the Heavy Vehicle National Law, but also improve their safety standards,” said Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester (pictured left).
“This is another important step in the NHVR's Safety Strategy, which includes new Chain of Responsibility Laws, a national roadworthiness program, National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual and checklists.”
The six existing industry codes, which vary between industry sectors and states, will continue to be used until January 2018 or until replaced by a new code. NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto (pictured right), said the new Guidelines were finalised following extensive collaboration with industry.
“The support from the Federal Government will allow industry bodies and code developers to offset some of the costs associated with delivering new Codes,” he said.
The funding has been well received by the transport industry, including Australian Logistics Council Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff. “Codes of Practice will provide a safer and more accountable heavy vehicle industry and we look forward to their development and implementation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Ben Maguire, said the development of industry codes would complement the ATA’s TruckSafe program and were an essential part of best practice safety regulation.
Animal strike thermal camera testing backed
Cochranes Cartage Contractors, NTARC and WARTA see benefits
A technology more commonly seen in the movies or wildlife documentaries is being tested in Australia in a bid to reduce animal strikes on trucks.
Western Australian family-owned trucking firm Pala Pty Ltd, which trades as Cochranes Cartage Contractors, has been conducting a six-month trial of a thermal camera in one of its trucks, reportedly with promising results.
Animal strikes are not only damaging to the vehicles they are distressing to drivers, Pala director Barry Cochrane says.
"As everyone who has driven WA country roads knows, animals are very difficult to spot and often jump out in front of your vehicle leaving you no time to react."
"The thermal camera means that our drivers can see animals even when hidden on the side of the road, regardless of whether its day or night for up to 500 metres ahead of the vehicle.
"This gives our drivers time to begin to take action to either slow down or avoid the animal."
The firm, which runs a fleet of 12 trucks, has used one truck to test the concept and Cochrane reports it is a hit with his drivers.
"They love it, they think it’s great," he says.
"It gives them a heads-up a lot earlier."
They do a lot of night driving up the coast road, often on low beam, and it also aids identifying animals obscured by the lights of oncoming vehicles.
National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) director Owen Driscoll welcomes the trial and innovation shown by Cochrane’s company.
"Losses involving animal strike continue to contribute to a large proportion of insurance claims involving heavy vehicles," Driscoll says.
"Animal strike, with over 520 incidents in the past six years, represented 22 per cent of all losses involving heavy vehicles in WA.
"During this time damage sustained from animal strike accounted for insured losses in excess of $13.3m.
"This does not include additional downtime and expenses to our customers or the loss of stock where cattle are involved.’"
NTARC is an initiative of dedicated truck insurance company National Transport Insurance (NTI).
In a study released last July, it reported that animal strike accounted for one in seven reported single vehicle accident involve hitting animals, mostly cattle and kangaroo.
NTARC’s biennial Major Truck Crash Incidents report, on those costing more than $50,000, published biennially, is due early this year.
WA Road Transport Association executive officer Cam Dumesny also backs the initiative.
"The general public often do not appreciate the level of safety investments and innovation that our industry operators undertake generally at their own initiative and cost," Dumesny says.
Avantgarde Distribution, the national distributor of the FLIR MD series equipment used, supplied the unit.
"Initial trials commenced nearly three years ago and we have a number of fleets utilising the equipment throughout Western Australia," Avantgarde’s Pete Hellemons tells ATN.
"Our vision is that every heavy vehicle working regionally in the top half of Australia should be fitted with thermal imaging not only for their safety and reducing their operating costs but the safety of all road users."
Hellemons says the MD625 unit provides vision in excess of 800m without the need for any high beam lights.
"So where you have high volumes of traffic such as Great Northern Highway, between Hedland and Auski, you are pretty much stuck on low beam and the region is filled with heaps of cattle," he adds.
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.
Exclusive: Kenworth T610 sales set new record
Sales for the new Kenworth T610 have surpassed PACCAR Australia’s already optimistic estimates, according to Prime Mover research.
Kenworth’s latest heavy-duty model, which was launched two months ago to the day, is reportedly setting new records internally, a PACCAR source revealed.
“T610 sales are going very well. We were confident the truck would be well received by the market and sales so far have justified that confidence and surpassed even our own expectations,” the source told Prime Mover.
While there is no information on the exact split between the standard T610 model and the SAR variant, Prime Mover expert, Peter Shields, said the success was “hardly surprising”.
“Kenworth has hit the mark with the new T610 in the sense that they catered to a demographic that hadn’t been looked after for a while – the smart conservative,” he explained.
“While being a long-standing bonneted truck enthusiast, the smart conservative is now expecting the same level of sophistication from a US style vehicle than they would from a European one. Style or grunt alone are not enough anymore.”
Long hours, dangerous conditions - truck driving's one of Australia's deadliest jobs