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Carriers say ACT can take B-triples

Date

John Thistleton

ACT-based transport companies say highways through the territory could handle B-triple trucks, which can be up to 35-metres long.

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.

Related coverage: Hume Highway B-triple plan 'off track': Candidate

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.

18 comments

  • I don't mind B triples but not on the Barton highway.
    In fact only the federal is suitable as a route to Canberra and where do they go from the end of that? There is no suitable route on to Fyshwick or anywhere they would want to go.

    Commenter
    colin2
    Date and time
    January 03, 2013, 8:58AM
    • The Australasian Railway Association states " the average freight train takes 110 trucks off the road" So why are we wasting time and money and more road deaths on B triples when we should be upgrading rail throughout Australia.

      Are the governments too short sighted to spend the money on rain, Also one freight train uses a lot less fuel and less carbon emissions then 110 trucks

      Commenter
      JAKE
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      January 03, 2013, 9:18AM
      • it makes sense. all we need to do is relocate everything along rail lines and it could work.

        Commenter
        economics 1a
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 10:11AM
      • No you dont need to relocate along train lines, you just need to change thinking. Paying 2 truck drivers for 4 hrs work each (one in Sydney and one in CBR or where ever the end destination is) vs paying 1 truck driver for 10 hrs with appropriate breaks. Each truck can be smaller and multiple shipments a day can be achieved thus resulting in quicker to custumer times. From a logistics point of view it makes the most sense which is why most of the rest of the world uses trains as their main freight moving option.

        Commenter
        Jane2
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 11:41AM
      • you're also paying additional people to load and unload the train at each end. this requires the acquisition of land (intermodal terminals), more hired labour, and time (which is one of the key limitations to the viability of rail, in general). the scope for delays, damaged or lost goods increases greatly. it's horribly inefficient. it's just cheaper and simpler to pay a truckie to drive your 10 hours or whatever. rail is used extensively for homogenous freight tasks such as mine-to-port resource exports, but that happens on the other side of the country.

        Commenter
        economics 1a
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 12:26PM
    • Lets invest the same amount that we have in roads into rail - both heavy freight and High Speed Rail. Then there is absolutely no need for these types of trucks to mix with cars on our interstate highways! The people against rail appear to be the trucking industry and the airlines - the most to lose. The people will gain the most by improving the rail infrastructure and it will create jobs and ensure we can avoid overcrowding in cities and improve our standards of living for all! Pretty simple really. We just need to avoid the truckers and the airlines making decisions that are best for them!

      Commenter
      JC333
      Date and time
      January 03, 2013, 9:26AM
      • If the rail network was put out to tender it would allow national freight carriers such as Linfox to get the trucks off the road. The rail network needs private enterprise to make it work more efficiently. As stated in the article "one train takes 110 trucks off the road".

        Commenter
        GR
        Location
        NSW
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 9:35AM
        • Rail freight is already privatised.

          Commenter
          Meanwhile
          Location
          in the real world
          Date and time
          January 03, 2013, 11:21AM
      • Logic would have a proper rail line from Port Botany, this would free up Sydney Roads and make freight faster. With new 24hr Airport at Wilton (and a new rail line to Sydney) it could become the air,road and rail freight and passenger hub. Freight could come to Canberra on rail, quicker, safer and cheaper. A couple of days ago i could not pass a B-double as its rear load was swinging into overtaking lane and the driver to rectify constantly veered into that lane and accelerated.

        Commenter
        stoney
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 9:45AM
        • Canberra road drivers can barely handle passing regular trucks and buses, imagine a triple truck on our roads! The rail infrastructure from Albury has already been upgraded so why not use it and get the death trucks away from drivers who cannot coexist with them. It comes down to a simple math problem "how much money/profit is needed to outweigh higher road deaths to trucking companies?"

          Commenter
          SB
          Location
          ACT
          Date and time
          January 03, 2013, 9:56AM

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