Truck manufacturers want 'rapid expansion' of B-triples

The body representing truck manufacturers wants "rapid expansion" of B-triples across most inter-capital highways

Truck manufacturers want 'rapid expansion' of B-triples
Truck manufacturers want 'rapid expansion' of B-triples

By Brad Gardner | October 12, 2011

The body representing truck manufacturers wants the "rapid expansion" of B-triples across Australia, but greater use of the combinations will prompt changes to warranties and service intervals.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) has thrown its support behind the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) bid to secure a nationally-agreed framework permitting the 35-metre rigs access to the type 1 road train network.

"While this first step will be a good achievement in itself, TIC supports rapid expansion of the permitted B-Triple route network to include the majority of inter-capital highways," TIC Chief Technical Officer Simon Humphries (pictured) has written to the NTC.

He wants B-triples given access to the highways linking Melbourne to Sydney, Melbourne to Brisbane, Sydney to Adelaide and Melbourne to Adelaide.

"It is extensive use of modular B-Triples on the expanded route that will provide the most significant safety, environmental and productivity gains," Humphries says.

The TIC, which counts Hino, Mack, Freightliner, Scania and Paccar among its membership, adds that greater use of B-triples means truck engines, transmissions, axles and brakes "will experience accelerated wear rates when compared to the same trucks used in B-Doubles and semi-trailers".

"This will be taken into account by TIC members in offering warranty, service intervals and calculating life expectancy of some components, when used for B-Triple service," Humphries writes.

He says the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) should be tasked with administering any rules and regulations for B-triples when it begins fully operating in 2013.

Furthermore, Humphries has also joined the NTC and the Australian Trucking Association in saying the controversial Intelligent Access Program (IAP) should not be linked to B-triple access.

"The IAP is still being developed, and does not yet feature mass or trailer monitoring over the total combination. Therefore the use of IAP will currently require the driver to self-declare when the prime mover is towing three trailers or two," he says.

While it says it has no issues with the NTC’s recommendations, the Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources is unlikely to permit B-triples to use its roads anytime soon. The largest truck combination on Tasmanian roads is a B-double.

Department Secretary Norm McIlfatrick says the state is currently developing a freight strategy that will look at higher productivity vehicles.

"However I anticipate the strategy will only comment on B Triples by way of not discounting their potential future use should an appropriate road network become available," he writes to the NTC.

Released in late August, the NTC’s proposal for greater access for B-triples recommended use of the road train network as a first step in opening up the inter-capital eastern seaboard to the vehicle.

It says B-triples have the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, truck numbers and road fatalities while generating $1.1 billion in savings between 2011 and 2030.

"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.

The report says inconsistent state and territory regulations have hindered the use of B-triples. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) tasked the NTC back in 2006 with developing a national framework for B-triple access.

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