Rugby league legend Shane Webcke (pictured) has been signed up for a second time as the face of the Brisbane Truck Show. This year’s only major national truck show, the event will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre from May 16 to 19. It is the biggest event that is held at the venue. Webcke is a logical choice to promote the show as the former Bronco player used to operate trucks and also has his Multi Combination licence, which means he is allowed to drive everything from a light duty truck through to a full-size road train.
An auctioneer specialising in trucks and constructionrelated machines and vehicles has opened a 16-hectare site on the outskirts of Geelong, Victoria. International outfit Ritchie Bros has held an official opening for the centre that now features a large auction building including a 670-seat auditorium. The opening auction late last month cleared more than $25 million worth of equipment.
Mercedes-Benz is putting new Unimog and Econic vehicles through extreme tests in the bitter cold of the Arctic Circle. The prototypes of updated vehicles have crunched through deep snow as temperatures dip to minus 30 centigrade. The company is holding the tests in Finland, near Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, to test new models featuring Euro VI-compliant engines. From January 1, all trucks sold in Europe will need to meet the new emissions standard. Australia is yet to lock in when it will introduce an equivalent standard, although it is likely to arrive in 2016 or 2017.
Volvo Trucks is teaming up with Shell to encourage greater take-up of liquefied natural gas around the world. The two companies have announced they will press for greater LNG take-up, starting with selected countries in central Europe and the US. ‘‘Shell is a key player in this market and we are one of the leading truck manufacturers, with an energyefficient gas truck already available on the market,’’ says Volvo public affairs director Lennart Pilskog. ‘‘Together we believe that we can enhance and speed up the introduction of LNG to the transport business, both through own activities and by inspiring others,’’ he says.
The Gillard government should scrap its plan to include trucks in the carbon tax from mid next year, says the Australian Trucking Association. Chairman David Simon pushed the point in his address to the National Press Club last week. Trucks were initially going to be included in the carbon tax introduced in mid 2012, but lobbying led to the industry’s exemption for two years. Fuel tax credits will also be reduced in 2014. Both moves would lead to a ‘‘27 per cent tax hike’’, according to Simon. ‘‘It would cost the industry more than half a billion dollars a year.’’ Simon believes the tax hit would hurt trucking operators. ‘‘It would be a massive shock for many truck businesses and they would not be able to respond,’’ Simon says. Truck operators can get tax exemptions by reducing their energy use or running trucks on bio-diesel, LNG or CNG, but switching to these fuels can be difficult and costly (switching to bio-diesel can require doubling scheduled truck oil changes). ‘‘Trucking businesses only have limited opportunities to reduce their energy use. Switching to renewables is not generally an option,’’ he says. ‘‘Biodiesel blends are rarely available and gaseous fuels like LNG are not usable for long distance operations. So businesses are left with trying to pass on the carbon tax.’’ Simon, who runs his own trucking business, says passing on the cost is not as easy as it sounds. Simon called on the federal government to make an election commitment to exclude trucks from the tax.