FREIGHT WEEK: Why POTA's higher productivity vehicle trial failed

Too many regulatory bodies and too many impediments in the way of a successful outcome

By Rob McKay | September 7, 2011

Bad luck, complexity and the dead hand of bureaucracy helped defeat P&O Trans Australia’s (POTA) recent bid to prove the worth of Higher Productivity Vehicles, FreightWeek has heard.

Explaining the pressures that conspired against its best efforts to find productivity gains, POTA Landside Manager Phil Bennett says that the system was too involved and too many conditions were applied.

While some organisations were helpful, there were too many bodies, both public and private, that had to be dealt with.

The exercise was not helped by a lead-in time of nine months and the limitations imposed on when and where the combination could drive.

The route sought had been Swanson Dock to the Somerton Intermodal Terminal using the Tullamarine Freeway - a 37 km drive that would normally take 40 minutes.

However, the trial route ended up being along the Western Ring Road - 55 km and one hour - and peak hours were blocked off.

The operating hours had been 6.30pm-6am, with a view to three return trips at 3.5 hours a trip.

While VicRoads and outer-suburban councils had supported the trial, co-operation and understanding from inner-city council and toll-road firm Tansurban were found wanting.

Added to that were impediments, including hold-ups at load points, road-works on the Western Ring Road and weight restrictions.

POTA had needed three trips a day for the trial to be feasible.

This had been managed once in two weeks

POTA withdrew from the trial in March.

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