Super B-doubles already reaping benefits for Wettenhall

Company spends almost three years trying to get approval for super B-doubles, but the effort has been worth it

Super B-doubles already reaping benefits for Wettenhall
Super b-doubles already reaping benefits for Wettenhall
By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | August 15, 2013

It may have taken Wettenhall Logistics three long years to get the nod to use super B-doubles on Melbourne roads, but the effort has been worth it.

Wettenhall has had two of the rigs on the road for only one day, but is already noticing productivity gains to the point where it will can its idea of buying more B-doubles this year.

Operations Manager Cecil King says the trucks, worth around $1 million combined, have moved 24 40-foot containers in just three runs between Dandenong and Port of Melbourne – an exercise that would take 12 trips on a normal B-double truck.

"We’re so rapt. Instead of us buying another four B-doubles now we’re not buying any," King says.

"That’s a saving for everyone – for the company, the road and the community."

The super B-doubles transport 12-metre shipping containers in one run and are the first in Victoria to be granted road access approval under the State Government’s Higher Productivity Freight and Logistics Plan .

However, it took Wettenhall a lot of work to get up to the point of putting rubber on the road.

"I’ve been working on this for nearly three years," King says.

"It’s been extremely hard. We had to go through a few government agencies and the conditions they put on them and the build of them and what the trucks could do, we had to comply with a lot of things to get these on the road."

The trucks are limited to 90km/h and monitored via GPS to ensure they stay on specified routes.

Wettenhall implemented the 90km/h speed limit on the rest of its 51 trucks a month ago in a bid to improve safety and slash costs.

"We operate on EastLink and Monash Freeway a great deal so it’s less stressful on the driver," King says.

"If the driver is sitting on 100km/h and the car is doing 99km/h, then the phone calls of trucks tailgating start coming in."

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has praised Wettenhall for being "transport pioneers" and says the switch to super B-doubles will reduce truck trips tremendously.

"As is the trend generally, more and more of the Wettenhall Logistics container transport work involves 40-foot containers, rather than 20- foot containers," VTA CEO Neil Chambers says.

"Using the super B-doubles to carry two 40-foot containers as opposed to the cartage of only one 40-footer on a B-double or on a semi will deliver a 100 percent productivity gain each trip."

Chambers says the trucks, combined with the reduced speed limit, will deliver reduced fuel bills, lower energy emissions and less stress for drivers.

"These are also some of the safest heavy vehicles on our roads," he says.

King has already received positive feedback from drivers on the new additions to the Wettenhall fleet.

"The trucks look magnificent and our drivers are in love with them. They reckon they’re beautiful trucks," he says.

"One of our drivers who was on the nightshift last night said you could see the envy in drivers eyes as they drove past."

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