Bigger trucks urged
A paper presented by a transport infrastructure expert contends that bigger trucks have been the leading force behind the increase in road freight transport in the past 35 years.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is pointing to the paper, which was presented by its author, David Mitchell, at the Australian Transport Research Forum as proof that legislation allowing longer trucks should be introduced in more regions of Australia.
Mitchell, from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) says: ‘‘Australia’s road freight task has increased six-fold over the past 35 years, yet over the same period total kilometres travelled by commercial vehicles have increased only three-fold, implying a near two-fold increase in average heavy-vehicle productivity,’’ David says.
He says contributing factors include improvements in inter-urban road infrastructure, improvements in vehicle technology, more efficient fleet management and increased load capacity.
‘‘While most of these factors will have contributed in some way to lowering the cost of road freight transport, the change in average vehicle size/carrying capacity has arguably been among the most significant factors contributing to improvements in road freight productivity,’’ Mitchell says.
ATA chief executive, Stuart St Clair, says the paper shows the need for B-triples to cope given freight is expected to double in the next 20 years.
‘‘B-triples are not only more efficient than semi trailers, they are also safer. They are designed to be more stable, they are newer and their drivers are trained to a higher standard,’’ he says.
Truckie’s fast work
Australia’s fastest truck driver has scored a major breakthrough.
Victorian Brendan Reeves, whose day job is hauling gravel in a Kenworth for his family’s business, has won an international rally scholarship and will compete against the best up-and-coming drivers in the world next year.
The 22-year-old won a place in the WRC Rally Academy championship, which replaces the Junior World Rally Championship after an impressive performance at the Pirelli Star Driver Shootout in Spain.
Importantly, his performance at the shootout in a Ford R2 Fiesta means that he will be fully funded for the six-round championship, which he would not have been able to afford to compete in otherwise.