Down Under Trucking is a weekly selection and round-up of trucking related stories from around Australia and from different aspects of the local trucking industry. This week: truckers slugged by box terminal operators; truckers slugged by tax hikes; truckers slugged by safety regulators; drivers slugged by Queensland politicians; Freightliner Cascadia rolls into the Outback; Linfox buys 90-truck fleet to transport booze.
Truckers slugged with huge fee by container terminal operator: A$122 ($83) to pick up a box
Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) has imposed a truly mammoth-sized infrastructure charge on trucks entering its terminal.
Effective January 1, 2020, an infrastructure surcharge of A$121.80 – exclusive of the 10% sales tax – will apply to all export and import containers handled by VICT at its Webb Dock terminal at the Port of Melbourne.
“VICT delivers a leading global standard in modern container terminal design, innovation and operations. With a commitment to delivering a world class service and leading truck turnaround times of under 30 minutes, VICT continues to improve systems to ensure greater efficiencies for both landside and shipside operations. VICT has also increased receival periods by extending opening hours. In addition, VICT upgraded the terminal lighting, resulting in zero light spill to the neighbouring areas and voluntarily registered to pursue an Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) rating. VICT achieved two of the highest possible rating categories of “Leading” for its sustainable design and build. As the market is changing, there is a shift towards split waterside and landside tariffs. This rebalancing allows VICT to remain competitive in the market, whilst continuing to provide shipping lines and shippers with leading service levels and a viable alternative container terminal in Melbourne,” the terminal states in its letter to customers.
VICT will also increase fees on import storage charges, vehicle booking system fee and late receival fees.
Trucking body warns against trucking tax increase
Australian Trucking Association chairman Geoff Crouch has issued warnings that new truck taxes, as reported in last week’s FreightWaves Down Under Trucking, jack up prices for consumers and customers.
A high-powered meeting of state and federal transport ministers last week identified a “preference” for trucking charges to rise by 2.5% in 2020-2021 and by 2.5% in 2021-2022.
The body is meeting with ministers to “discuss the numbers behind the proposed increase.”
Health and safety inspectors are on their way…
Meanwhile, the trucking industry in the Australian state of New South Wales has been notified that the health and safety inspectors from local regulator, SafeWork NSW, will be visiting transport, distribution and warehousing businesses in Sydney.
The inspections are part of a “Falls from Heights Advisory Program” to reduce the number of falls.
“The transport and distribution sector operates in a working environment which includes tight scheduling and demanding customer expectations, which can cause impacts across the supply chain,” said SafeWork Executive Director of Operations, Tony Williams.
“Workers continue to be placed at risk when working on the trays of trucks and trailers to restrain and or unrestrain loads which places them at significant risk of a fall from height – we simply want to talk to people about how to do things better and safer,” Williams added.
Queensland cracks down on mobile phone use and driving
A fine of $1,000 Australian dollars ($678) along with four demerit points (get 13 and the driving license is taken away) will be slapped on any driver in Queensland that is caught using a mobile phone while driving.
Queensland Government Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said that research shows that nearly three-quarters of all drivers in Queensland could be illegally using their mobile phones will driving.
“If you’re using a mobile phone while driving, you’re driving blind – those few seconds can make a critical difference to the odds of being in a serious crash,” Bailey said.
“In the two seconds a driver’s eyes are off the road attending to a phone, a vehicle moving at 60km/h travels 33 metres – and at 100km/h it travels 55 metres. These distances can mean the difference between life and death. Our study found a high percentage of people who admitted to using phones while driving, recognised they should reconsider their actions (62%), but say they found it difficult to break the habit of using their mobile phones.”
According to the state government, using a mobile phone while driving multiplies the risk of having a serious crash by four times and it can be as risky as drunk driving. Research shows that the response time of a driver who is texting on a mobile phone is comparable to a driver with a blood alcohol reading of between 0.07 and 0.10.
A survey of 2018 Queenslanders revealed that 70% use their phones illegally, with 48% of respondents admitting to texting during traffic and 22% of drivers saying they text while driving. Meanwhile, 42% of drivers check email, social media or the internet while at traffic lights. And a further 42% of people do that while driving.
Freightliner Cascadia rolls into the Outback
Truck maker Daimler AG is bringing its “most successful truck” from North America to the big brown sunbaked and empty land Down Under.
Daimler will soon offer for sale the new Freightliner Cascadia (Class 8, >15 t perm. GVW) after senior company leadership presented the truck to customers in Sydney.
The company says that the Freightliner Cascadia has a market share of about 38% in the U.S. long distance market.
The vehicle has had to be adapted for the Aussies though. Australia drives on the left so the trucks need a right-hand drive and the drive system has had to be optimized as transport tasks here “typically exceed” 100 metric tonnes (110.2 U.S. tons) permissible GVW.
The upgraded drive train and aerodynamics now offer a 5% fuel reduction compared to the predecessor model.
Daimler said that about 20,000 Freightliner-brand trucks are in operation in Australia and New Zealand.
Major truck operator Linfox splashes out on UD Trucks
Linfox Logistics Australia and New Zealand, a major trucking operator Down Under, has splashed out on a fleet of more than 90 UD Trucks Quon CD 25 360 for use by its drinks-logistics brand “BevChain.”
According to Linfox, the Quon “features a host of advanced safety features including the Traffic Eye Brake System, electronic braking systems, UD Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning and a pPNLT exhaust emissions standard.”
Linfox said that BevChain relies on a range of vehicles including heavy rigid trucks, trailers and flatbeds to transport beverages to pubs, bottle shops and distribution centers.