According to Grant Albinus, owner of KGB Transport, his customers are looking for good service levels. He has found that his business reputation has grown from doing the right thing, arriving on time and keeping the customer fully informed.
Grant went out on his own, based in Inverell NSW, as a transport business 10 years ago. Before setting up an original farming business, his father had a small trucking operation in South Australia. After moving to Inverell, the farming business had included some transport operation and this is the basic equipment with which Grant started off on his own business when his mother and father decided to retire.
The first truck in the KGB fleet was an Iveco Powerstar which was followed by a Kenworth T909 truck and dog combination. Now, Grant runs a Kenworth T909 prime mover with a Cummins X 15 engine rated a 600hp and putting out 2050 ft lb of torque. The truck is just over two years old.
Grant subcontracts fertiliser work out on a regular basis, the level of which varies as the seasons change. A lot of fertiliser movements are made around the sowing window in each area. These busy periods can last up to two months, depending on the local conditions.
Running either as a B-double or A-double, depending on the load, Grant needs to use the Performance Based Standards system to get the kind of payloads he needs. He is finding the access issues around running his truck frustrating.
There are already A-doubles with precisely the same specifications using many routes already, but the operator still has to go thorough a permission system for each vehicle. Operators are seeking to have an ‘as-of-right’ system enabled if the unit they are using is the same spec.
“Everything has to go through the portal now,” says Grant. “I have just had to do seven applications. Out of those, four of them are with new routes no one has done before, to try and get into some new locations. If anyone in the loop says no, that’s it.
Grant was frustrated by the way the system seems to work. He found that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has no power whatsoever over the state authorities. They couldn’t even force the states to give him an answer. He felt powerless against a wall of bureaucracy with no information coming back to help him.
There are other frustrating aspects to the way the rules currently work. Grant uses a triaxle dolly on the A-double, because that is what he needs in order to be able to run to the east of the Newell Highway in NSW. However, using that triaxle dolly gives him no extra mass allowance in Queensland. He actually loses out on mass coming across the border.
The dolly can only be loaded to 17 tonnes in Queensland just the same as if it was a bogey dolly. In terms of safety, Grant contends that it would be better to have the 22.5 tonne allowance on the dolly and the 17 tonnes on the rear tri grouping on the rear trailer.
“It’s the same for the guys hauling two 40 foot container’s from the Darling Downs into Brisbane,” says Grant. “There is a length issue, so the drawbars are made shorter, which means the combinations don’t handle as well. Allowing them to run at 32m would make them easier and safer in terms of handling.
Grant’s A-double set up runs at exactly 30m long. The GCM available between Brisbane and Toowoomba or Warwick is 85 tonnes. Anywhere west of Toowoomba or Warwick, Grant is able to access Higher Mass Limit (HML) weights at 91 tonnes, because he has tracking and digital scales scales fitted on the truck. Running at 85 tonnes gives Grant a payload of 56 tonnes on the A-double.
“In terms of costs, I would be better off, if I was running in an out of Brisbane to run with a bogey dolly, but I would lose out everywhere else, ” says Grant. “You’ve got to work out what is your best option. I have made my combinations as versatile as I can.”