Fellows wants lower rego, no IAP to encourage B-triple use

Bulk transporter backs proposal for greater B-triple access but wants governments to give a little to encourage their use

Fellows wants lower rego, no IAP to encourage B-triple use
Fellows wants lower rego, no IAP to encourage B-triple use
By Brad Gardner | September 12, 2011

Fellows Bulk Transport has backed a proposal for a national access regime for B-triples but believes lower registration fees and regulatory exemptions are needed to encourage industry to use the combination.

The family-owned business from Deniliquin in NSW has praised the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) push for 35 metre B-triples to be given access to the type 1 road train network.

Unveiled late last month, an NTC discussion paper says replacing inconsistent state and territory-based approaches to B-triples with a national network will cut CO2 emissions, reduce the number of trucks on the road, prevent fatalities and generate $1.1 billion in savings between 2011 and 2030.

"I think the work done on the B-Triple proposal is outstanding and a credit to all those involved," Fellows Bulk Transport Director Paul Fellows has written to the NTC.

He says B-triples should be open to all road train routes and that governments should not mandate the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) or performance based standards (PBS) requirements as a condition of access.

Fellows labels both initiatives expensive, time consuming and a deterrent to operators trying to improve productivity.

"Registeration [sic] charges on all lead trailers needs to be dropped, again to try and encourage operators to become more efficent [sic]," he says.

"I would like to see b-triples used on the northern highway in Victoria which [is] a major route for fertiliser and grain transport connecting NSW and the ports of Melbourne and Geelong."

In its discussion paper, the NTC notes the impact of registration fees on operators using B-triples and B-doubles.

"With the registration charges currently applied to lead trailers, the total registration charge for a B-triple is significantly higher than that of an A-double or an A-triple," it says.

"As a consequence, those operating a B-double or a B-triple are placed at a competitive disadvantage when competing for freight on a road train network."

Talks are currently underway between the NTC and industry on registration charges. Groups such as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) say high fees are discouraging operators from registering A-trailers.

The discussion paper says restrictive state and territory laws are constraining B-triples to intrastate instead of interstate operations, hindering their ability to drive lasting productivity gains and help the industry meet a burgeoning workload.

While calling for access to the road train network, the NTC eventually wants inter-capital eastern seaboard connections opened up to B-triples.

"Not since the broad introduction of B-doubles has Australia had a similar opportunity to impact so positively on the road transport industry’s triple bottom line."

The NTC says governments must end inconsistent regulations to realise the productivity and safety benefits of B-triples. Queensland currently permits B-triples to operate on its type 1 network, while South Australia limits operations to a basic inter-capital route.

NSW, cited in the discussion paper for its restrictive regulations, has a limited network and requires B-triples to be accredited and monitored under IAP. The NTC says Victoria only allows B-triples to operate between the Ford factories in Geelong and Broadmeadows.

"B-triples will not be able to flourish as a national road freight productivity solution until such inconsistencies are overcome," it says.

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