Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aussie Road Haulage Industry Begins to Make Sense of Freight Carriage

Oversize Load Problem Addressed by Local Authorities
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – Following our article in February focusing on the search for an executive to head up the new office of Independent National Heavy Vehicle Regulator formed to cut the reams of red tape which festoon the trucking industry nationwide with an unholy garland of state and national laws and regulations, it seems the agreements reached so far between state and territorial governments have started to rationalise the carriage of freight by the country’s road haulage industry.

Australia often witnesses the movement by road of loads that would be viewed as excessive by the standards of many countries, one of the advantages of such wide open country, but even here project cargo shipments and heavy lift contracts can cause problems. In a public statement today Troy Buswell, Minister for Transport in the Western Australian Government told how the simplification of procedures for heavy hauliers was to be implemented, saying:

“Feedback from the industry was that red tape was causing significant delays when planning the movement of over-sized loads across the State’s road network. Given the significance of the resources industry to the Western Australian economy, we need to make sure Government does what it can to allow the heavy haulage industry to operate as efficiently as possible.

“The creation of the new one stop shop for permits will mean that a transport operator will only have to make one application to Main Roads in order to obtain an Oversize Load Permit, book a Police Escort and get a referral to Western Power for power line clearance.”

Power lines have been a major problem for haulage operators in the past with pre planning necessitating extra costs to allow for the lifting and replacement of overhead cables for each and every movement. The Minister continued:

“Each time the lines are lifted, the industry must pay Western Power or Horizon Power and, with the increase in movements of oversize loads, this cost - which is passed on to customers - is also increasing. To assist the industry the State Government, through Main Roads WA, has provided funding to Western Power to underground eight lines which cross Great Northern Highway between Perth and Newman. The heavy haulage industry agrees that these eight lines, which have a height clearance of less than 6.5m, are problematic for efficient operations.”

“Given there were 849 oversize permits issued for loads travelling this route in 2011, the burying of these lines will mean up to 90% of these loads will no longer require Western Power supervision. Once completed, Main Roads will look to identify other areas where this initiative will provide benefits to the transport industry. I expect that these benefits may mean Government can work with the industry to develop a funding mechanism to be used for future similar projects.”

The cost of burying the eight lines in Bindoon, Miling, Pithara, Dalwallinu and Wubin is estimated at A$250,000 with work due for completion next month and Mr Buswell the works could potentially save operators up to A$15,000 per trip.

Photo: Courtesy of the O.D.Group, Western Australia.