Short hauls

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

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.

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