The Transport Workers Union has attacked federal government plans to allow for select 457 visa holders to be paid 10 per cent less than what Australians work for in regional areas. National secretary Tony Sheldon says foreign workers could be exploited under the plan or may not be competent behind the wheel. “Road transport is an example of an industry where high English language competency is vital to not just workplace safety, but the safety of all road users,” he says. The Biofuels Association of Australia is holding its annual conference on October 31 in Sydney. This body represents biofuel producers, marketers and retailers and other parties interested in renewable fuels. Recent policy changes that are likely to hurt the biofuels industry in Australia will be up for discussion. “The aim of the conference is to encourage a higher level of debate about some of the negative external issues not currently being costed by our economy and to lay a foundation for new investment in the renewable fuels sector,” says BAA chief Gavin Hughes. View www.biofuelsassociation. com.au Volvo truck group has opened its own dealership in Blacktown, NSW. It cost $16 million, took 12 months to build and fully fit out and will sell Volvo, Mack and UD trucks. The buildings on the site cover 4000 square metres and there is also a car park that can cater for 200 vehicles, including B-doubles. There are 24 workshop bays and a rest lounge for drivers. The dealership will operate around the clock and employ 75 people. Work has started on a new TNT freight super hub in Melbourne. Expected open in 12 months, it is large enough to house five full-size soccer pitches. TNT says its new Tullamarine facility will use the latest automated sorting technology, handling up to 18,500 parcels an hour, or a 60 per cent increase on the current volume at its Melbourne facility. The new plant will also host a call centre that will hire an additional 50 people. The company that makes Budweiser beer has switched its fleet in Houston, Texas, from diesel to compressed natural gas. Anheuser-Busch bought 66 Freightliner CNG rigs as part of a company-wide pitch to slash its carbon dioxide footprint. It certainly is big enough to make a difference given it expects to deliver 17 million slabs of beer in the next three months. Anheuser-Busch predicts the Houston fleet switch alone will reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2000 tonnes. BUSINESS class has arrived in van land. German tuning house Brabus has turned its attention to the functional MercedesBenz Sprinter, converting it to an opulent office.
Brabus has made a name for massive performance upgrades on Mercedes models – it once shoved a V8 in a Vito van — but it is also known for its custom luxury enhancements.
While the luxurious mobile office might seem like an odd choice, Brabus is looking to tap an emerging market of European executives who would rather travel from city to city in a comfortable vehicle rather than catch a plane.
Instead of going through all the hassles that flying entails, the business passenger is able to either sit back and relax in privacy or get a whole load of work done on the ground (even taking phone calls, which is not practical in the air).
While Brabus vehicles normally back some serious punch, the engine in this special Sprinter has been left alone.
It has been fitted with a body kit, including a deep front bumper, and 18-inch alloys.
Apart from those changes, a Brabus badge and very black windows, the van looks like any other Sprinter. On the inside though, it is a completely different matter.
The interior has been transformed into a luxurious space more akin to a multimillion dollar luxury yacht cabin. There are four huge individual seats covered in sumptuous leather that face each other, with an option for two extra regular seats at the back (for underlings, I presume).
They are heated, ventilated, have a massage function, and can recline to a sleeping position.
The floor of the van is decked out with a floating wood floor, while the walls are lined with Alcantara. A massive 1800mm x 900mm screen can be linked to any Android or Apple device.
The interior mood lighting is made up of 2700 LEDs.
KEEN ON A KENNY
RODNEY’S Transport Services (RTS) has spent tens of millions of dollars on Kenworth trucks.
Just last month, the company’s 200th Kenworth was delivered to its headquarters in Wagga Wagga.
The prices paid for the trucks is hard to estimate, given the range of trucks and spread of time in which they were bought but Kenworth trucks are never cheap and RTS could well have spent more that $30 million on Kenworths since 1992. It’s fair to say managing director Peter Rodney is a Kenworth fan.
“We will continue to buy them every year because it’s good for business. They are designed and manufactured in Australia to suit Australia’s harsh environments and applications,” Rodney says.
He says the ability to have a truck tailor-made at Kenworth’s Australian factory in Bayswater, Vic, is a big plus.
“Kenworth builds trucks to our exact specifications,” he says. “No other manufacturer can do that. The trucks are more reliable, durable and cost effective to run. They can handle the hardest work, the longest hours and many years of service.”
The 200th RTS Kenworth is a K200 cabover with a 410kW (550hp) Cummins 15-litre ISXe5 engine and the classic 18-speed Eaton RoadRanger manual. It is one of 104 Kenworths in the RTS fleet, which includes bonneted jobs such as the T909, T609, T409SAR and T359.
RTS runs up and down the eastern coast and into South Australia carting livestock, fertiliser, general freight, waste and grain.