The trucking industry needs to get with the program and bring in fresh and diverse new blood in order to head into the future. The nature of the trucking industry is changing and society around the industry is also changing, fast. Read more
The current freeze on the rate of fuel tax is to be extended. Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has announced his intention to freeze the heavy vehicle Road User Charge at the current rate of 26.14 cents/l for the 2015-16 financial year. Read more
The Australian Trucking Association has called for reforms to enable continuing improvement in productivity. In its submission to the Government’s Competition Policy Review, the ATA seeks changes to enable the trucking industry to continue to develop productivity in the face of an ever growing freight task.
“Between 1971 and 2007, trucking industry productivity increased six-fold due to the uptake of high productivity vehicles like B-doubles,” said the ATA submission. “But the industry’s productivity has plateaued due to government regulation and policy decisions.
“With the national freight task set to grow by 80 per cent between 2011 and 2031, governments must take action on policy reforms to enable the industry to improve its productivity, including by using longer, safer trucks on appropriate routes.”
Road planning and funding reforms must be designed to optimise road infrastructure funding efficiency, said the submission. The trucking industry needs the right roads at the right price, with the right level of access.
“We want to know that funding for road infrastructure provides value for money, with better processes to assess how effectively it is spent,” said the ATA. “This would include improving governance arrangements for public infrastructure projects, project benchmarking, and additional cost benefit analysis.
“Our submission also urges the Government to examine road supply and management services provided by road agencies, with an eye to improving transparency and productivity in this area. The submission also calls for competitive neutrality between government and industry trucking accreditation schemes.
“The competition review states that government businesses should not hold a competitive advantage purely because of their ownership. The Government should reflect this with fair and comparable treatment of industry accreditation schemes owned by industry (such as TruckSafe) and government (such as NHVAS).”
A new technical advisory procedure, providing workshops with essential checks to make sure the park brakes on their trucks restrain their trailers safely. This advice has been published by the Australian Trucking Association as part of the Industry Technical Council work in improving safety outcomes in the industry.
Australian trucks should have park brakes to activate the spring brakes on their trailers. However, the Australian Design Rules allow some overseas models to be imported that park ‘on air’, a less secure method. The ATA first issued a warning about the problem in 2013.
“In Australia, the standard practice is that trailers are parked using the mechanical force of their spring brakes. Applying the park brake in the cab of a prime mover should apply these spring brakes on all connected trailers,” said Chris Loose, ATA Senior Adviser Engineering.
“Under the Australian Design Rules, trucks and prime movers that meet the European brake standard, UNECE R13, are deemed to meet the Australian standard as long as they also meet a performance specification. However, some of these units use park brakes that only apply service air to the brakes on connected trailers, rather than spring brakes.
“This is less safe, because the brakes would release if the air leaked out or a driver accidentally disconnected the air lines in the wrong order. If a trailer is parked on spring brakes, the brakes remain on even if air pressure is lost, the brakes fail to safe.
“The European standard only requires the brakes to maintain pressure for 15 minutes, because their drivers routinely fit wheel chocks. Because Australian operating practices don’t include the use of wheel chocks in these situations, there’s a real danger that these braking systems could contribute to a trailer rolling away, or its landing legs being damaged.”
Chris said the advisory procedure, developed by the ITC, provided operators with procedures to help them find out what kind of park brakes were installed in their vehicles.
“If your heavy vehicle park brake parks trailers ‘on air’, it is important to get advice from a suitably qualified engineering consultant,” said Chris. “Similarly, the ATA recommends that trucking operators should only purchase vehicles where applying the park brake activates its trailers’ spring brakes.”
Another four operators have been announced as members for the TruckSafe accreditation program. TruckSafe says it is proud to welcome CBG Transport (NSW), Transedel (VIC), Simpsons Fuel (VIC) and Lillyvale Livestock Carriers (QLD) as its newest members.
CBG Transport is a local family owned Newcastle business running two trucks, with plans to add a third one in the coming months. Specialising in local liquor deliveries around Lake Macquarie, Director Chad Grintell said customers really valued the TruckSafe accreditation program. Read more
The National Transport Commission has said productivity will become the main focus for its work over the next four years. A statement released outlined a range of projects designed to boost transport networks. It says it will seek to identify ways to deliver quicker and cheaper road, rail and intermodal networks, particularly for Australia’s freight and logistics industry. This announcement follows the approval by Australia’s transport ministers of anew work program last week. Read more
A report by Infrastructure Australia has met with some approval, but questions are being raised about what new infrastructure is needed and how to pay for it. The Australian Infrastructure Audit Report analyses how the population and economy is expected to grow between now and 2031 and outlines possible solutions. Read more
The Australian Trucking Association has launched a new series of trucking workshop safety alerts, developed by its Industry Technical Council. The first safety alert has just been published and deals with issues caused by using incompatible airlines and fittings, while the second highlights the dangers of using suzie coils to connect brake airlines across drawbar type couplings.
“Safety is the major priority for the trucking industry. Preventative maintenance and workshop procedures play a crucial role in making sure the heavy vehicle fleet operates safely on the road,” said Christopher Melham, the ATA CEO. “However, from time to time issues arise that aren’t found in any manual. In one of our first safety alerts, operators are cautioned against using a suzie coil to connect brake airlines across a drawbar coupling.
“In the unlikely event of a trailer decoupling on the road it is designed to fail safe, with emergency brakes coming on as soon as the airline connection is cut. Suzie coils meet the technical requirements for this connection. But in an emergency, the coil would stretch significantly before it was pulled apart, delaying the application of emergency brakes.
“It’s a serious issue with a very simple solution. By distributing these safety alerts, the ATA aims to increase awareness of these considerations, and help trucking operators and workshops ensure that their vehicles are as safe as they can be.”
The ATA safety alerts explain the urgency of each problem, indicate key personnel who should be made aware of the information, and provide clear follow-up actions to address the issues. New alerts will be released as issues come to the ATA’s attention.
There is a general recognition the current way of calculating the road user charge for trucks on Australia’s roads is flawed. In 2014, the government froze the charge for the year after questions were raised about incorrect calculations about the number of trucks on the road. Read more
TruckSafe has appointed Ferdie Kroon and Graham Emery as the newest members of its Board of Management.
Ferdie Kroon is the Risk and Compliance Manager for De Bruyn’s Transport in Tasmania. In addition to TruckSafe, De Bruyn’s has implemented an award-winning all-of-workforce staff development program to build a strong safety culture within its business. Read more