This week in Diesel News, Routes Opening to PBS, Start Date for New Laws, Fatigue Exemption and RFNSW on Safety and CoR.
PBS port access improves
The New South Wales road network is now open for Performance Based Standards (PBS) Level 2B container operators to apply for access permits to transport containers in and out of Port Botany.
The latest access expansions follows a decision in Victoria to widen access to the state’s arterial road network to high productivity 30m A-double combinations.
Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) held a meeting with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), Transport for NSW, NSW Ports and transport companies including VISA Global Logistics this week to table a number of issues raised by its member companies currently using PBS vehicles on the Sydney road network.
According to Simon Hardwidge, Managing Director of VISA Global Logistics, the decision marks a “watershed moment” for Sydney.
“The decision is a fundamental change to the policy,” Hardwidge told Diesel’s sister publication, Trailer Magazine.
“The majority of containers coming in and out of the port are 40-foot containers, so they previously needed a single trailer each, but now we can carry two 40-foot containers in and out of Port Botany.”
RFNSW says the use of the PBS scheme has proven to be highly effective in improving efficiencies in the freight supply chain for its members.
“We are pleased that the trial is allowing PBS 2B carriers transporting containers in and out of the port to achieve higher levels of productivity, whilst adhering to stringent safety and infrastructure standards,” O’Hara said.
“RFNSW has over 65 per cent of members at Port Botany landside operations, which is why we now need to advocate on their behalf for modifications to the trial. These include examination of weights; extending access arrangements and hours of operations for PBS 2B vehicles to and from Port Botany and expanding PBS 2B access on the Sydney road network.”
ATA calls for start date for new truck laws
The federal and state governments must set a start date for the strong new truck laws scheduled to start in 2018, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chair Geoff Crouch has said.
“The ATA and its members lobbied strongly for the new laws, which include a new primary safety duty for all businesses in the road freight transport chain of responsibility, including the extension of the laws to maintenance, a due diligence obligation on company executives, and a massive increase in maximum penalties,” said Crouch.
“These laws are needed to stop large industry customers from pressuring trucking businesses into operating unsafely on the road.
The laws are due to come into effect in 2018, but a starting date has not yet been declared.
“The ATA and its members are running strong information campaigns about the new laws, as is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR),” added Crouch. “With the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), we are jointly developing a master registered code of practice to help businesses comply. But having a specific starting date is needed to focus the attention of every industry customer.”
ALRTA welcomes fatigue exemption consultation
The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has welcomed the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) announcement that it has commenced formal consultation on a proposed national work and rest exemption to allow limited personal use of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles.
ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, has reportedly said that a national exemption would harmonise state laws and result in better quality rest for drivers.
“Short-distance drivers can usually make it home to access sleeping quarters, meals or washing facilities, as well as their own private vehicle for personal use,” said Keenan. “In contrast, long-distance drivers are often forced to rest at inhospitable locations with no amenities whatsoever.
“Uninterrupted sleep, eating well and keeping clean are fundamental to maintaining alertness and vehicle control. It is also important to relieve boredom during longer breaks in isolated locations.
“In New South Wales, drivers are allowed up to one hour personal use of a heavy vehicle during a 24-hour break to undertake tasks such as cleaning, refuelling or driving for non-work related purposes.
“While ALRTA strongly supports the principle underpinning this limited exemption, it is just as important to promote better rest quality during the working week, and of course NSW is not the only location where such flexibility would be beneficial.
“A national work and rest exemption would ensure a consistent approach across all Heavy Vehicle National Law jurisdictions and promote better quality rest for long-distance drivers,” he said.
Road Freight NSW weighs in on CoR
Responding to weekend media reports about concerns over truck safety, Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) General Manager, Simon O’Hara, said, “Our members who have worked in the industry for many years have always, and will always maintain, that safety on the road network is paramount.”
“We would have appreciated the opportunity to have some input into the articles to give our members’ perspectives on truck safety.
“After all, they balance safety and compliance, with their cost imperatives, as few others do.”
He noted that RFNSW meets regularly with its members and stakeholders, such as RMS (Roads and Maritime) and NHVR (National Heavy Vehicle Regulator) to raise issues around safety policies and compliance, and develop and implement strategies.
“Amendments to CoR laws commencing in mid-2018 means that drivers will be required to undertake daily checks of their trucks, assess any operational risks and ensure they are fully compliant, otherwise businesses will suffer,” he added. “We’re sending the message that everyone in the supply chain has a role to play, not just carriers.
“RFNSW also believes that the adoption of new technologies and ongoing public education campaigns focusing on road safety overall, will assist in curbing preventable accidents and fatalities.”