In the area at the western end of Victoria and into South Australia, the forests are alive with the trucking industry involved in chipping and tipping. Here’s a video of the wood chip unloading facility at Portland in Victoria. Three lifting platforms keep the wood chip flowing out of the trucks, into the processing facility and onto the waiting ships bound for various Asian ports.
The trucks pull onto the platform and then a steel bar behind them holds the rear of the trailer in place for the lift. The B-doubles have sliding bodies allowing the front of the semi trailer to be pushed up close to the rear door of the lead trailer. Then the whole load can be tipped in one movement. The free-swinging door on the rear of the lead trailer and front of the semi trailer can be seen moving out of the way as the load empties, early on in the video.
The different lengths of truck can be explained by the use of performance-based standards (PBS) approved combinations in some areas allowing quad-axle lead trailers. The wood chip supply chain is all about getting the wood chip out of the forest areas and down to the processing facilities and ports as productively as possible.
Unfortunately, a number of local government areas in the south-east corner of South Australia, where many of these plantations feeding the wood chip industry are based, have been resistant to allowing the more-productive PBS B-doubles on their roads. As a direct result, the number of wood-chip trucks on the roads in these areas has increased and, of course, the condition of the roads has worsened.
Here we have yet another example of the type of negative outcomes for the trucking industry, which can be directly attributed to the lack of communication between different levels of government across Australia.