SCOTI paves way for B-triple expansion

Transport ministers back plan to provide greater access for B-triples, unlocking significant productivity gains

SCOTI paves way for B-triple expansion
SCOTI paves way for B-triple expansion

By Brad Gardner | May 21, 2012

Transport ministers have backed a plan to give B-triples greater access to the road network in a move designed to unlock significant productivity gains.

The Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) agreed to adopt the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) recommendation for modular B-triple’s to access the type 1 road train network.

The NTC last year called for 12-axle B-triples of up to 35 metres to be permitted to travel on the network as a first step in opening up inter-capital connections on the eastern seaboard to the vehicles.

The NTC estimates greater access for the higher productivity vehicle will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.1 million tonnes, reduce truck numbers by at least 1,000, prevent 25 fatalities and generate $1.1 billion in savings between 2011 and 2030.

"This is a significant productivity enhancement for the heavy vehicle sector," the communiqué from the May 18 SCOTI meeting says.

NTC CEO Nick Dimopoulos has hailed the decision as a win for the trucking industry and the community.

He says B-triples, which are equipped with the latest safety technology but have been hampered by cross-border regulatory differences, are safe and efficient.

"We hope this decision will provide industry with the confidence needed to invest in these vehicles and increase uptake across Australia," Dimopoulos says.

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

In its proposal released last year, the NTC blamed the existing regulatory environment for holding back 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 has a limited network and requires B-triples to be accredited and monitored under the Intelligent Access Program (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," the proposal states.

The proposal sets specific conditions for an acceptable B-triple, including a maximum length of 35 metres and the requirement that it forms a 26-metre B-double when any of the trailers are removed.

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