Call to accelerate Victorian higher productivity efforts

CTAA seeks transparency on VicRoads research on possible routes

Call to accelerate Victorian higher productivity efforts
An Arrow A-double of the sort that needs more political backing.


Despite a lack of official fanfare on higher productivity freight vehicle (HPFV) developments in Victoria, Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) says it has noticed encouraging signals.

The representative body notes access applications gaining recent approval for combinations able to handle two 40-foot containers on the broader road network at mass limits higher than 68.5 tonnes.

"Pleasingly also, some local councils that have been opposed to HPFV access in the past are now granting local road access permission," CTAA director Neil Chambers says. 

"Notably, Maribyrnong City Council, at a meeting held mid-June, granted access permission for two prominent container transport operators in the inner western suburbs of Melbourne to operate HPFVs."

The organisation now hope the state government will give public approval and greater detail in allowing Super B-doubles and A-doubles to operate where it is safe to do so.

It quotes Rocke Bros. Transport managing director Matt Simmons as saying his firm has been in discussions with in dialogue with Maribyrnong City Council "for a number of years".

"The change to their policy position is pragmatic, and shows that regulators and the community are beginning to understand that these new heavy vehicle configurations are safe and productive.  Importantly, their use will ultimately lead to less trucks overall carrying import and export containers to and from the Port of Melbourne," Simmons says.

Subject to final VicRoads and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) approvals, the company intends to operate 30 metre HPFVs from its Tottenham yard to and from the Port of Melbourne, and more broadly on the Victorian road network.

"Transport operators are willing to invest in new trailers and prime mover equipment provided they can achieve the necessary increases in mass limits to make their investment commercially viable." Chambers says. 

"This means gaining the optimum mass limit approvals that match, or come close to matching, the vehicle’s design parameters.

"Unfortunately, incremental mass limit increases of only a couple of tonne don’t make these new combination investments viable."

 In the case of 30-metre A-doubles, the optimum design weight is 85.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM).

"Queensland allows these combinations at 85.5 tonne GVM to operate from Toowoomba across the Toowoomba Range into the Port of Brisbane," Chambers says. 

"They achieved that through close freight network planning cooperation between local governments, the State, and the freight industry. 

"Victoria is lagging behind this cooperative benchmark, but we are hopeful that we are on the cusp of similar planning and network use achievements in Victoria.

"VicRoads has been completing a review of key road freight routes in the state that link major agricultural production, manufacturing and freight generating areas to Melbourne and its commercial ports and industrial precincts.  VicRoads is to be applauded for this work to date."

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