Freighter Wins Safety Award for Trailer Design

Trailer brand, Freighter, has won an award for safety initiative at the annual Steel Transport Safety Network Awards.

The “Safety Improvement Initiative Award” was presented to Freighter for modifications it made to the standard design of its extendable semi-trailer.

Instead of the usual bare main rails between deck sections when the trailer is extended, Freighter engineered a walkway which folds out around the main rails as the trailer extends.

This provides drivers and staff with a safe walkway between the front and rear sections of the extended trailer, thus eliminating the risk of falling between the gaps in the main rails.

The award presentation took place at the Park Royal Hotel, Darling Harbour, on 15 August 2013. Technical Manager, Greg Brown, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Company.

“We engineered this trailer based on a request from our customer OneSteel, who wanted to improve their driver safety when working in and around extendable trailers – which is commendable in itself,” Greg said.

“At OneSteel’s request, we have designed an extendable trailer with a walkway which folds out to be 1.7m wide between the two main decks of the trailer. This means that workers can safely walk between decks without risk of falling.”

OneSteel National Transport Safety Manager, Paul Driver, said “the innovation came about due to OneSteel’s commitment to safety. The organisation has rigid safety codes of practice within the business that are the foundation for the way we work. The codes of practice relate to eliminating risk. The special Freighter extendable came about after the identification of a fall risk from extendable trailers. We took that risk to Freighter and worked with their engineers to find the best way to eliminate it.”

Paul said the resultant trailer has been well received and that the innovative new Freighter design would now be specified as standard whenever the company requires new

Freighter Technical Manager, Greg Brown, accepts the Safety Improvement Initiative Award from Jennifer Chellew of Worksafe Victoria.
Freighter Technical Manager, Greg Brown, accepts the Safety Improvement Initiative Award from Jennifer Chellew of Worksafe Victoria.

extendable semi-trailers in the future.

NHVR Chief Executive Officer Richard Hancock

NHVR aiming for consistent outcomes at the roadside

NHVR Chief Executive Officer Richard Hancock
NHVR Chief Executive Officer Richard Hancock

Heavy vehicle drivers and operators will benefit from a greater level of consistency in on-road compliance and enforcement outcomes when the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) commences.

For heavy vehicle drivers, this will bring about more consistent on-road processes for fatigue, defective heavy vehicles, mass and dimensions, load restraint and restricted access vehicles, no matter who conducts the inspection or in which state or territory it is conducted.National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO Richard Hancock says the Regulator and its partners have worked together to ensure compliance and enforcement was a key priority under the HVNL.

“Previously, on-road compliance and enforcement activities varied between states and territories. Since mid-2012, the NHVR and its partners have worked to harmonise these processes under the soon-to-be commenced national law,” Mr Hancock said.

“We’ve worked collaboratively with state and territory road transport authorities and Police agencies with the aim of delivering consistent on-road compliance and enforcement, aiming for the same outcome in the same circumstances.”

The heavy vehicle industry will see improved consistency and transparency for:

  • managing driver fatigue and the National Driver Work Diary – more consistent interpretation and application of driver fatigue and work diary requirements
  • defective heavy vehicles – a tiered defect scheme (formal warning, minor, major and major grounded) and promoting more standardised defect notices and label formats
  • load restraint – the National Transport Commission’s Load Restraint Guide continues to be the standard with more consistent application and outcomes
  • mass and dimensions – a focus on applying measurement adjustments for all on-road inspections delivering consistent weighing and measuring  assessments
  • restricted access vehicles – uniform, national processes  for on-road inspections of Class 1, 2 and 3 vehicles operating under mass or dimensions exemptions (notices or permits).

The NHVR also has a dedicated Compliance and Enforcement team which will work with industry and continue to support Police agencies and on-road enforcement officers including transport inspectors.

Enforcement officers employed by participating state and territory road transport authorities will continue to wear their own state-or territory- issued uniform while performing functions on behalf of the NHVR.

Mr Hancock says more consistent on-road enforcement will boost industry confidence in the new regulatory framework. “Ultimately, this should lead to greater community confidence that Australia’s heavy vehicle operators work within the rules and put safety first,” said Mr Hancock.

Transdev CEO driving safety to win Safety Ambassador of the Year

The CEO of leading Australasian public transport company Transdev Australasia, Jonathan Metcalfe has been announced as the Safety Ambassador of the Year for his commitment to keeping his workers and users of Transdev’s services safe.

Announced this morning at the National Workers Memorial in Canberra the Safety Ambassador of the Year honours an individual who leads by example to raise awareness of the importance of a safe working environment. Importantly this person encourages others to get involved with work health and safety and supports all workers to speak up about potential hazards.

Mr Metcalfe was recognised for his passion, innovation and influence in driving cultural change and safety reform within Transdev. Transdev is a public transport company with more than 4800 employees working on train, bus, ferry and light rail services across Australasia.

In presenting the Award to Mr Metcalfe, Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Rex Hoy congratulated Mr Metcalfe for his leadership and commitment to work health and safety.

“Leading from the top down Jonathan displayed true leadership by pushing safety as a priority for Transdev Australasia,” said Mr Hoy.“Driving his motivation for safety excellence is the philosophy that great organisations are differentiated by the culture and values underpinning what they do.“He has worked tirelessly to improve the safety culture within Transdev. His dedication has been recognised by Transdev staff at all levels.”

Transdev recorded the company’s lowest ever lost time injury frequency rate in 2012. This figure is on track to be even lower in 2013. More information on why Jonathan was announced the Safety Ambassador of the Year for 2013 is attached.

For the first time in Safety Ambassador history a highly commended award was also presented this morning.

“The calibre of this years’ entries was exceptional and it was hard to separate the winner and highly commended recipient,” said Mr Hoy.
“Congratulations to Jared Dwyer, OHS Coordinator with Port Hunter Conveyors.“Working with staff at all levels Jared has raised the profile of work health and safety and made great in-roads to improve common safety issues faced by workers“Central to Jared’s success has been his ability to communicate key safety messages to help change the perception of safety within the mining industry.”The Safety Ambassador of the Year is announced during Safe Work Australia Month in October.

Truck sales slowing ahead of expected gains

The recent decline in truck sales compared with the same period last year has accelerated slightly.  Official T-­Mark figures just released for the month of October 2013 show a total truck market of 2,610 sales, realising a 5.6 per cent drop compared with the October 2012 total of 2,766 units.

This latest result is similar to those posted in August and September, and these recent trends, should they continue, will cast some doubts as to whether the Australian truck market for the full year will exceed that for 2012.    The October 2013 cumulative total was 25,437 units, the best result since 2008’s bumper year. However, the gain over 2012 (on a year-­to-­date basis) is now just 1.8 per cent, compared with a 5 per cent gain displayed at the mid-­year mark. The October 2013 year-­to-­date figure is 17.3 per cent lower than the equivalent October 2008 cumulative tally of 30,751 units delivered.

The Heavy Duty segment was 6.8 per cent lower than in October 2012, with a total of 981 units sold.  The first half of 2013 indicated strong positive growth, however the running tally for this year is now just 1.2 per cent (or 109 units) ahead of 2012.  Medium Duty truck sales are down in line with the total market, with October’s total of 564 units being 5.4 per cent lower than August 2012.  The Medium Duty segment, with 5,571 units so far in 2013,  is now at very similar levels to the same point as last year, with growth of just 0.5% compared with 2012.

The Light Duty truck segment total of 653 units was only just sufficient to make it into the top ten Octobers on record.  The Light Duty segment declined by 16.2 per cent compared with October 2012, while this segment is now showing a small drop of 1.2 per cent in the year-­to-­date figures.  The Light Duty Van segment continues to shine by comparison with the truck segments, posting an October total of 412, which is 21.9 per cent better than October 2012.  The LDV segment growth rate is accelerating, and is now at 13.6 per cent in the year-to-­date comparison.  With the total truck market being just 459 units ahead of the  same period in 2012, and LDV segment recording a 409 unit increase, it is clear to see that when vans are removed from the equation, the truck market is at virtually the same level as last year.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council said: “The October truck sales could be the last month of those which were significantly affected by the 2013 federal election.   The usual 2-­4 month lead time from order to delivery in the truck market should lead to a stronger November and particularly December total, as a result of capital investments resuming to normal levels following the election.  Other economic conditions, especially in the housing sector, appear to be slowly improving, so TIC considers that the final tally for 2013 will probably just exceed that achieved in 2012.”

Queensland’s best recognised at 23rd Annual Dinner and Awards Night

The Queensland Trucking Industry’s night of nights was a resounding success last weekend with operators, suppliers and officials coming together at the QTA 23rd Annual Dinner and Awards Night to recognise the best achievements, programs, initiatives and people working in the road transport industry in Queensland.

Dignitaries included the Hon Scott Emerson MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Neil Scales, Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads as well as Julie-Anne Schafer the Commissioner of National Transport Commission and Richard Hancock the CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

With a star studded line up of guests and an entertaining night ahead the awards ceremony was eagerly awaited and well received by the strong crowd.

Award winners and awards:

Excellence in Driving


Professional Driver


Industry Safety


Industry Excellence


Young Achiever


People Leadership Excellence




Qld Trucking Woman of the Year


Excellence in Driving Winner: Darren Peach from  Simon National Carriers with Wayne Striplin, National Operations Manager - Strategix Training Group
Excellence in Driving
Winner: Darren Peach from Simon National Carriers with Wayne
Striplin, National Operations Manager – Strategix Training Group
Professional Driver
Winner: Neville Thacker with Mr Mark
Kelly, Dealer Principal – Trailer Sales
Qld Trucking Woman of the Year
Winner Karen Bow – WHSQ Transport Strategy Group and Andrew
Lock, Regional Branch Manager Brisbane & Toowoomba – Cummins South
Ross Fraser
Industry Safety
Winner: Frasers Livestock Transport represented by Ross Fraser
Young Achiever
Winner: Tegan McFarlane, Followmont Transport.
Industry Excellence
Winner: John King from Toll NQX



Truck market slows as van sales grow

012According to the Truck Industry Council (TIC) monthly report total Australian truck sales for the first nine months of 2013 were 22,827 units, or 2.8 per cent above the tally achieved for the same period in 2012.

The report says the individual month result for September 2013 showed a slight decline in the overall truck market (0.3 per cent) compared with September 2012.  The third quarter of the calendar year was also 1.5 per cent lower than third quarter 2012.

The Heavy Duty, Medium Duty and Light Duty truck segments all posted declines for September, with Light Duty trucks suffering the most, while the Light Duty Van (3,501 kg and above) segment recorded a major gain on recent results.

TIC suggests that while capital equipment finance conditions are quite favourable to operators, the relatively quiet third quarter was affected mostly by the traditional uncertainty generated by a federal election campaign.  With the election result now declared, business conditions are beginning to improve, especially in the housing sector, leading to TIC members being optimistic that 2013’s fourth quarter should see a return to positive gains for the truck market.

The third (July to September) quarter saw total T-Mark sales of 7,753 units.  While this was 117 units less than for the third quarter of 2012, it is worth noting that the most recent result is 22.6 per cent lower than the record third quarter result achieved in 2007, when 10,020 units were sold.   In fact, 2013’s third quarter was beaten by six other years in the past decade.

Market Segments

The September 2013 sales figures demonstrated a decline across all cab-chassis segments, yet a surprisingly strong result for vans.

The Light Duty Truck Segment for September was the worst affected by the softer market, recording sales 8.8 per cent lower than September 2012, and providing a 9-month tally of 6,563 units, which is still a minor gain (0.6 per cent) on the same period for 2012.   The third quarter total of 2,178 units is particularly weak when compared to the past decade; only 2009 showed a lower result, and 2013 was 26.4 per cent lower than the record third quarter achieved in 2005.

The Medium Duty Truck Segment was showing signs of growth over the past 12-18 months, however has slowed recently.  The September 2013 total was 586 units, 5.5 per cent lower than September 2012. Comparing the nine-month tally of each year, the 2013 result remains marginally (1.2 per cent) higher than for 2012.  To demonstrate the extent of the longer term decline of this segment, the third quarter MD segment result of 1,628 units is a significant 38 per cent below the result for the same quarter in 2008.

The Heavy Duty Truck Segment managed to reach 1,000 units for the month, however this is 3.9 per cent lower than September 2012.  HD segment sales for the year-to-date remain higher than for 2012, but the gain has been reduced to 2.2 per cent.   The nine-month 2013 tally came to 8,261 units, which is still quite a strong performance.   The third quarter total of 2,844 units was the fourth best on record, yet 18.5 per cent lower than the record achieved in 2007.

The Light Duty Van Segment has outperformed most expectations in recent months.  The September result of 438 units is 44.6 per cent higher than in September 2012, while the year-to-date figure is 12.5 per cent above 2012’s market.  While a jump of more than 40 per cent is possibly due to one or two large contracts being delivered, TIC notes that most of the gains in this segment are due to a GVM rating change for one of the van ranges recorded here.  The Renault Master was previously rated at 3,500 kg, and so recorded in the Light Commercial Vehicle segment (and therefore not included in T-Mark data). However, the 2013 models are rated at 3,510 kg and above, so are now showing in T-Mark totals.  The 300 Renault Master vans recorded so far in 2013 represent the majority of the 334-unit gain in this segment.

TIC Chief Executive Officer, Tony McMullan, is hopeful that a post-election rise in business confidence will turn around the slowing of the market in the last quarter, and translate to improved truck sales late in 2013, and into 2014.

“The September quarter was the most likely to be affected during an election year.  However, the total truck market and all segments have reached September while retaining small gains compared with the same period in 2012.  A lift in sales in the fourth quarter is probable as capital expenditure in some sectors improves and new housing starts increase.  TIC expects the current year to finish with a small gain over 2012, followed by a positive start to 2014,” Mr McMullan said.

ATA release the 2013 report card before Saturday’s election

In the Australian Trucking Association’s report card Labor scores two ticks out of four while the Liberal-National Coalition scores four ticks out of four for policies benefitting the transport industry.Voting 2013

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has awarded the Labor Party two ticks out of four, and the Coalition four ticks out of four, in its 2013 election report card.

The ATA released the report card today. It assesses the parties against four criteria: their achievements in government, and their policies on the carbon tax, better roads and road access, and truck taxes and

The Chairman of the ATA, David Simon, said the report card showed the Labor Party still planned to extend its carbon tax to the fuel used in trucks.

“The tax would start at about 1.6 cents per litre instead of the 6.858 cents per litre in Labor’s original plan. It would not stay at 1.6 cents per litre, though. Using Treasury figures from the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal
Outlook, the ATA estimates the carbon tax would increase to 5.1 cents per litre by July 2016,” Mr Simon said.

“In contrast, the Liberal-National Coalition has confirmed it would abolish the carbon tax.

“Australia’s governments are looking at tracking and billing trucks by satellite. Under this plan, known as mass-distance-location pricing, every one of Australia’s 534,000 trucks would be fitted with a special GPS tracking
device. Trucking operators would receive bills based on how far their trucks went, the roads they used and an assessment of their mass.

“In the lead up to the election campaign, the ATA called on the Labor Party and the Coalition to announce they would, if elected, halt the move to satellite based tracking and billing.

“The Labor Party did not respond to this call in its response to our election questionnaire. In contrast, the Coalition pledged that it would not move to a satellite based system without extensive industry consultation.

“The report card shows the Labor Party and the Coalition both have strong records of achievement in government and sound plans to build better roads and truck rest areas.

“I urge everyone in the trucking industry to consider the factual information in our report card as they decide how to vote on 7 September,” Mr Simon said.

The report card and background information are available at

Whatever political persuasion you have just don’t forget to vote!     

Australian voters must fill in their ballot papers correctly to ensure their vote counts  in Saturday’s federal election, the AEC said today.

Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn said people will be asked to complete two ballot  papers, for voting in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

Instructions are provided on the top of each ballot paper, but if you make a mistake, just ask  a polling official for a replacement ballot paper and start again.”

On the green House of Representatives ballot paper, voters must number every box in their order of preference, starting at ‘1’ and continuing until they have consecutively  numbered all the boxes.

On the white Senate ballot paper, voters have the choice to either mark one box above the line with a ‘1’ for the party or group of their choice, or number every box below the line for each candidate in order of preference.

Mr Killesteyn said each voter has the final say on how they number candidates on the two ballot papers on Saturday.

“While candidate representatives outside polling places may offer you a ‘how to vote’ card, the final decision rests with you and it is a secret ballot. Polling places open at 8am on Saturday and voting will continue through to 6pm sharp,” he said.

“If you can’t make it to a polling place on Saturday, early voting is still  available today and on Friday up until 6pm at about 500 early voting locations around Australia.”

Comprehensive lists of polling places will also be advertised in major metropolitan  newspapers tomorrow, Friday 6 September.

On election day, polling officials and translated information will be available to assist voters from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and at some locations there will be bilingual polling officials wearing a special badge identifying which language they speak, for voters requiring further  assistance.

First ever Global Truck Trailer Leadership Summit ahead of Melbourne Truck Show

ARTSAAustralian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association (ARSTA) will host Australia’s first-ever Global Truck Trailer Leadership Summit.

The two-day Summit will welcome the industry’s most influential voices to discuss pressing issues facing the industry, with vivid presentations and panel discussions aimed to help grow and inform the commercial road transport community in Australia and abroad.

“We are excited to announce that Melbourne has been chosen to organise such a world-class event,” said ARSTA Chairman, Dr Peter Hart.

“Australia’s commercial road transport industry has always been at the forefront of developing modern transport technology, so we are very proud to welcome the industry’s most influential people from around the globe to discuss the future of our industry.”

The Summit will be launched in Melbourne, Australia, in conjunction with the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show (ITTES) in April.

“The timing is perfect,” Peter Hart said.

“The ITTES is undoubtedly the most impressive showcase of transport technology in the Southern Hemisphere, so our guests will have the opportunity to not only talk about industry, but also liaise with it and experience Australian-made technology first-hand.”

According to Dr Hart, well-known vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and research partners from the US, Europe, Asia and Australia will present current scenarios and development trends at the Summit.

“With Europe preparing for a sixth year of slow economic growth and the US only just starting to see the silver lining on the horizon, the industry is currently at a crossroads and has to come up with feasible solutions to ensure the transport industry is well prepared for a challenging future. This is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

The Global Truck Trailer Leadership Summit will be held in  Port Melbourne at Lifesaving Victoria, on 1-2 April 2014.

Don’t like the road rules? Have your say on the amendments

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released the latest package of proposed amendments to the Australian Road Rules for public consultation today.

The NTC is responsible for regularly reviewing the rules in consultation with stakeholders to determine if amendments to existing rules or the introduction of new rules are required.

“The proposed changes aim to ensure the rules keep pace with best practice in roCapturead safety and continue to meet the needs of all road users,” said NTC Chief Executive and Commissioner, Paul Retter AM.

“The proposed changes, in many instances, reflect and legally recognise current community and driver behaviour by clarifying existing rules.”

The proposed amendments are detailed in the Australian Road Rules 10th Amendment Package Explanation of Amendments document, available from the NTC website. Some examples of the proposed changes include:

Expanding the definition of a level crossing to include all of the area marked by yellow cross-hatching, in order to bring the rule in line with community understanding and increase road and rail safety

  • Enabling drivers to use driver’s aid functions (such as navigational applications) on a mobile phone if the driver does not touch the phone while driving and if the phone is secured in an approved fixed mounting
  • Amending the definition of a bicycle to include electric bicycles known as pedalecs in order to be consistent with the Australian Design Rules.

The changes are based on advice from the Australian Road Rules Maintenance Group which includes representatives from road agencies and police from each of the state and territories across Australia, as well as a Commonwealth representative. 

“Feedback received during the public consultation period will inform the amendment package that will be presented to the ministers from the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) for approval later in 2013,” said Mr Retter.

“It is important to note that, as with all of the Rules Amendment Packages, the amendments in the 10th package will only take effect once they are approved by SCOTI and are adopted into the law of each state and territory.”

The amendment package and a document explaining the proposed changes are available to download from the NTC website. Public submissions are open until 4 September 2013.

 The NTC is also undertaking a separate review of the Australian Road Rules and Australian Vehicle Standards Rules to explore ways to improve the way both sets of rules are developed and implemented. An evaluation report has been released for public comment and is also available from the NTC website.

The Australian Road Rules were introduced in 1999 and contain the basic rules of the road for motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, passengers and other road users.

The Rules form the basis of the road rules in each state and territory. As ‘model laws’, however, they have no legislative force of their own.


2013 National Trucking Award Winners Announced


Robert Schalkwyk – EnergyTrans, Garbutt, QLD also won the QTA Truck Driver of the Year award.
Robert Schalkwyk – EnergyTrans, Garbutt, QLD also won the QTA Truck Driver of the Year award.

The Australian Trucking Association has honoured Australia’s top truck driver and other leading industry figures in the 2013 National Trucking Industry Awards.

The awards were presented at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Awards Dinner on Hamilton Island last Friday.

The 2013 National Trucking Industry Award winners are:

Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry
Mike Moylan – Johnstons Transport, Sydney, NSW

National Professional Driver of the Year
Robert Schalkwyk – EnergyTrans, Garbutt, QLD

National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year
Sharon Middleton – Whiteline Transport, Greenfields, SA

TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award for excellence in the TruckSafe program

De Gunst Transport – Bundaberg, QLD

Don Watson Memorial Award for conspicuous achievement in furthering the industry’s objectives

Simon Skazlic – K&S Freighters, Truganina, VIC

The National Professional Driver of the Year, Robert Schalkwyk, has spent more than 40 years as a professional heavy vehicle driver and has never had an accident in his vehicle.

“Never in my wildest dreams had I expected to be standing in front of you,” Mr Schalkwyk said.

The Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry Award went to Mike Moylan of Johnstons Transport. Mr Moylan is also the Chairman of the ATA NSW Container Section Committee, and is credited with reducing the average truck turnaround time at Port Botany to 30 minutes.

“The queues used to be four or five kilometres long. We’ve kept the pressure on and through everyone’s hard work we got results,” he said.

The winner of the National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award, Sharon Middleton, has been in the road transport industry for 30 years. In partnership with her husband, Bob, she has expanded their business from three trucks and a typewriter to one with depots in Adelaide, Cavan, Perth and Berri. She is also the President of the South Australian Road Transport Association.

Ms Middleton congratulated the other finalists for the award and its previous winners.

“I’m standing in some pretty amazing footsteps,” she said.

The TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award went to De Gunst Transport from Bundaberg, Queensland. De Gunst Transport began as a single truck operation in 1984. Today, its fleet includes 60 prime movers and 140 trailers, along with a range of earthmoving plant and equipment.

Bob De Gunst said he joined TruckSafe after his company started to expand.

“I asked ‘how can I control this to make sure the maintenance and safety are there?’ And that’s how I joined TruckSafe,” he said.

The winner of the Don Watson Memorial Award, Simon Skazlic, led the development of best practice guidelines to prevent accidents while trucks are loaded and unloaded. Thousands of businesses have downloaded the guidelines.

Mr Skazlic said he was surprised, humbled and stoked.

“I think it’s important to give back to an industry that needs so much, yet has so much,” he said.