Super B-doubles hit the road in Melbourne

Two Super B-double truck combinations have rolled out of the Dandenong depot of Wettenhall Logistics, marking a milestone in access for Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) on the wider Victorian road network .

The Victorian Government unveiled its blueprint for the freight and logistics sector, Victoria – The Freight State, outlining a long-term strategy to improve freight efficiency, grow productivity and better connect Victorian businesses with their markets locally and internationally.

A key element of the plan is a commitment by the government to better use the existing freight network by allowing larger and more productive freight vehicles on Victoria’s roads.

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Neil Chambers praised Wettenhall Logistics managing director Scott Wettenhall, and his team for being ‘transport pioneers’ as the first company to be granted approval under the government’s HPFV ‘Cubic Freight Network’ policy to operate super B-doubles between Dandenong, the Port of Melbourne, and associated empty container parks near the Port of Melbourne.

“This represents a significant investment by a family company like Wettenhall Logistics. Scott has done the numbers and knows his clients’ needs for the efficient movement of light full containers to and from the Port of Melbourne, and the associated management of the empty container task,” Chambers said.

“Having the ability to move four  TEU on the one vehicle both to and from the Port, instead of three TEU on a B-double or two TEU on a semitrailer, will reduce truck trips tremendously for the company.

“As is the trend generally, more and more of the Wettenhall Logistics container transport work involves 40-foot containers, rather than twenty foot containers. Using the super B-doubles to carry two 40’ containers as opposed to the cartage of only one on a B-double or on a semi will deliver a 100% productivity gain each trip.”

Chambers also stated that the trucks were among the safest operating on Victorian roads.

 “These are also some of the safest heavy vehicles on our roads. As a condition of their access, the vehicles are monitored by Intelligent Access Program (IAP) certified GPS, have EBS braking technology, and brand new Mack prime movers with the latest engine and safety designs. The trailers have been built by Vawdrey to exacting safety and engineering standards, including side under-run protection,” he said.

“We are extremely glad that these vehicles are now on the wider road network as we know that it is the start of an exciting journey. We have no doubt that they will demonstrate to the government, the community and to industry, that they are safe, productive, efficient, and the way of the future.”

Image: Victorian Transport Association

Giant trucks set for Victorian roads

Huge 30 and 36.5 metre trucks will soon be on the move on Victoria’s major freeways as the state government aims to boost freight productivity.

The B-doubles will be able to use all of Melbourne’s major roads including the Monash, West Gate, Ring Road, Citylink and East link.

The trucks will initially be capped to a speed limit of 90km/h and have GPS tracking devices installed to ensure they are staying on approves routes, The Age reported.

Roads minister Terry Mulder said the move would increase productivity but came with strict safety measures.

"These longer vehicles won't be able to exceed 68.5 tonnes so they will be ideal for moving lightweight bulky goods between the ports, rail terminals and key regional centres," Mulder said.

Mulder said the move was "imperative, because we know the amount of freight is set to double in coming years".

Head of Australia’s Logistics Council, Michael Kilgariff said the move would ease congestion.

"The reality of growing congestion in our cities underscores why industry supports the use of high productivity vehicles to play a greater role meeting Australia's rising freight task," he said.

"Despite some misconceptions, HPVs are safer, more reliable and cleaner than normal semi-trailers and B-doubles."

However, Labor’s shadow transport minister Luke Donnellan said the big trucks would cause damage to roads.

"At the time the Brumby government ran trials, the Premier indicated that he didn't support these trucks on our roads due to his belief that the maintenance on our roads wasn't up to scratch," Donnellan said.

 "Since then road maintenance funding has been reduced by between 30 to 40 per cent across Victoria."

Donellan also accused the government of approving the use of the big trucks without proper public consultation.

The first B-doubles are expected to hit the road within two months, pending permit grants.

Image: adelaidenow.com

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