ACT-based transport companies say highways through the territory could handle B-triple trucks, which can be up to 35-metres long. Photo: Stephen Moynihan
ACT freight companies see no reason why B-triple trucks could not deliver bulk freight such as fuel into the national capital.
The trucking industry is pushing for the 35-metre combinations to ease congestion on the Hume Highway. The NSW government is proposing a trial in 2014, after the major interstate route's last section of single carriageway is duplicated at Holbrook, south of Gundagai.
Duplication of the Barton Highway from Yass to Canberra has been on the drawing board since 2010, but there is no starting date or funding for this work.
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The trucking industry and NSW government say B-triple trucks, three trailers behind a prime mover, carry more goods than standard semi-trailers or B-doubles.
Queanbeyan-based interstate freighter Abletts Transport, which operates between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, is waiting to hear more details.
National manager Duncan Ablett said the company ran 15 B-doubles and the matter of B-triples was in their customers' hands.
''We have mixed loads. We'd have to try and get to a central point to re-distribute the freight,'' he said.
He could not foresee any problems on the Monaro, Barton and Federal Highways. B-doubles cannot operate on Kings Highway because of the Clyde Mountain.
''We'd have to look at everything, registration costs, where you are allowed to go to and whether that suits our operation. If you were going to do something like fuel, you would have to bring the trailers in, sit them somewhere and run them around like that. I could see that working. But you need a central spot to unhook and to re-hook.''
Roche's Transport, a general freight carrier at Hume in the ACT and in Yass, would run a more efficient service if allowed B-triples, said spokesman Mick Hogan.
''The Barton Highway might be an issue because it is only single-lane. The Federal Highway (Goulburn-Canberra) coming in this way, I personally would say, 'why not?'.
''The bigger companies, if they can absorb the cost, because they are the ones making it harder on the smaller guys as it is, they'll go through the trials. The smaller guys like us can reap some of the rewards.''
Mr Hogan said the company had most of the equipment to run B-triples.
''I'm not fully aware of all the restrictions. They would have fairly strict guidelines, I believe. I would imagine they would have to be (restricted to) dual carriageway. I couldn't see that it would happen quickly.''
The Australasian Railway Association does not see longer trucks as a means of easing congestion, and says the average freight train takes 110 trucks off the road. Instead of building more roads which would encourage more cars and trucks, the focus should be on expanding rail.
ARA chief executive Bryan Nye said other countries had banned B-triples because of safety fears. ''B-triples are something we will regret,'' Mr Nye said.
A spokeswoman for NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said high-productivity vehicles on the Hume Highway could cut the number of freight trucks, leading to almost a million fewer B-double-equivalent trips over a 30-year period.
The Australian Trucking Association said B-triples were fitted with safety features such as a blind-spot radar.