Down Under Trucking: productivity under the microscope

Pictured: a map of Australia with colourful pins

Down Under Trucking is a weekly column that presents an overview of a variety of trucking-related stories from across Australia. This week: trucking productivity consultation; truck fire on freeway; telematics applications; truck roll-over deaths; logistics ecstasy; trucker hit and killed cyclist; Toll wins five year trucking deal.

Truck fire shuts down freeway

In the last few days, a major freeway in the Australian state of New South Wales was shut down when a truck in double B configuration (a prime mover and two trailers) burst into fire at about 5:00 a.m. 

The driver of the B-double stopped the truck, unhitched the trailers and alerted the emergency services. NSW Fire and Rescue attended and extinguished the blaze, which had, by then, spread to the local grassland. The freeway was shut down for several hours.

First provider of telematics application announced

Transport Certification Australia, a national body that provides assurance services in relation to transport technologies and which administers the National Telematics Framework, has announced that electronic telematics device provider V-DAQ is the first registered supplier of the “Road Infrastructure Management” (RIM) application. According to Transport Certification Australia, the RIM provides a standardized way of collecting and analyzing telematics data from vehicles.

It monitors details such as location, time and identity. Speed can be calculated from position. The system also generates analysis, reports, aggregate and de-identified data.

V-DAQ will provide the application through the National Telematics Framework.

Fire truck driver and passenger die in truck roll-over

Two people have died in Sydney after their fire truck rolled over. At about 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, their Rural Fire Service truck is thought to have hit a tree and then rolled off the road. The driver and passenger died at the scene. Three other people were injured and were treated by paramedics. A police investigation is underway.

Commenting on the tragedy, crew at the Fire & Rescue NSW Station 204 Alstonville posted a statement that read: “Last night two NSW Rural Fire Service FireFighters tragically paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our thoughts are with the families and crew of these two FireFighters. May these heroes Rest In Peace.”

Regulator begins truck productivity review

Australia’s National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has issued the Draft Heavy Vehicle Productivity Plan 2020–2025 and is calling for feedback.

NHVR Executive Director Freight and Supply Chain Productivity, Peter Caprioli commented: “This is a draft blueprint for the NHVR, government and industry to work together to improve access and productivity for Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet. The HVPP has at its heart an objective of delivering safe, productive and efficient heavy vehicle movements for an industry that has an impact on all Australians… Many in industry are calling for greater access and certainty, governments want improved consistency and data, and road managers want support for access and road infrastructure decisions.”

The draft plan sets out three objectives:

1) Provide access certainty and consistency.

2) Partner with local government to build capability.

3) Promote safer and more productive vehicles that are better for the environment and communities.

To deliver the first goal, the regulator hopes to increase the number of formally approved networks so as to remove the need for permits for low-risk movements. It wants to deliver more national notices, which enable permit-free access and provide consistency between internal borders. To help deliver greater certainty for high productivity vehicles, the regulator wants to work with road managers to collectively open up access.

It also wants to work with road managers, truck manufacturers and industry to support decision-making to help open up roads. The regulator points out that bridge assessment/high productivity truck assessments are complicated by a lack of truck configuration data on such matters as axle spacing leads road managers to try to derive data by deciphering truck drawings.

Chuck another, er, kilogram of MDMA, on the BBQ

Sunny Australia, much like the United States, is rightly famed for being a land inhabited by people fond of barbecues. Well some Aussies have clearly taken that love affair a bit too far by using 200 aluminium, sorry, aluminum barbecues to smuggle 645kg (1,421 pounds) of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine.

That’s the dance and party drug ecstasy to you or me. Long-term in moderate to high doses, it has a variety of adverse health effects especially in relation to brain mass and cognition. It is valued by recreational drug users, particularly in rave and club culture, as it induces euphoria, increased feelings of energy, empathy and enhanced appreciation of the input from human senses (vision, hearing and touch).

Police in Cyprus, Europe, alerted the authorities in Australia to a potential export of drugs from Cyprus to Australia. Upon arrival, the consignment was seized and the drugs were replaced with an inert substance. The consignment was then allowed to be delivered to its destination, a warehouse in a Sydney suburb. Criminals then shipped the consignment to another warehouse and began preparing the barbecues for onward distribution.

A series of premises have been raided and two men have, so far, been arrested and charged.

Driver arrested after hitting and killing cyclist

Two days ago, on December 19, a truck driver was arrested by the South Australian police after a 59-year old cyclist died after being hit by a truck. The driver, a 32-year old man, was arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated due care. He was bailed and will appear at the Port Adelaide Magistrates’ Court late next month.

Toll wins trucking deal with NS BlueScope Malaysia

Japanese-Australian logistics giant Toll and steelmaker NS BlueScope Malaysia have signed a five-year extension to a 17-year logistics relationship.

Following the signing of the deal, the two companies announced the acquisition of two new Mercedes-Benz Actros prime movers and Zenith Trailers for deployment at the NS BlueScope plant in Kapar, Klang in a 6 million Malaysian ringgit ($1.5 million) investment.

The new trucks have been fitted with facial recognition fatigue protection, telematics tracking solutions and stabilizers along with a series of other safety features.

Toll now has a dedicated fleet of 26 prime movers for this contract and it has hired and trained an additional workforce.

The company, owned by Japan Post, operates a logistics network across 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries and employs more than 44,000 people. NS BlueScope Malaysia operates several plants across the Asian nation. It is also a subsidiary of Australian Stock Exchange-listed BlueScope Steel Limited Australia (ASX: BSL).

Safe driving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

And finally, Down Under Trucking will be taking a short break over the holidays and will return in early January. Until then, we wish you safe driving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.