Daysworth terminal tractors improve sea cargo task

By: Jason Whittaker

Cargo movement on New Zealand's Cook Straits ferries is expected to become more efficient following the delivery of 20 specialised

Cargo movement on New Zealand's Cook Straits ferries is expected to become more efficient following the delivery of 20 specialised Daysworth International terminal tractors.

Beginning early May, Daysworth International will supply the Ottawa Model 50 terminal tractors which are expected to improve the key New Zealand transport hubs’ handling capacity for the three hour journey between Wellington and Picton.

With more than 50,000 trucks and trailers freighted across the Straits each year, and about half of those being unhooked trailers, the current service is restricted by how many stand-alone trailer units can be ferried as each requires use of a prime mover to stabilise it on-board.

Ferry company Interislander’s David Shepherd says there is strong productivity and efficiency improvements on offer.

"We currently put prime movers in front of the trailers on the ship for customers but we will soon be able to move to positioning trailers securely on trestles on-board," Shepherd says.

Trestles will allow the terminal tractors to load unhitched trailers on to any of the company’s three ferries without the need for them to be coupled to a prime mover, as is currently the case. Trailer legs alone do not provide enough stability for the voyage.

"The terminal tractors will allow us to more effectively trestle single trailers on board the ships," Shepherd says. "It can be done more effectively and quicker than using a prime mover and it doesn’t hold up as much equipment for us.

"A prime mover costs $150,000 compared to a trestle which only costs $4000 — so it is a negligible cost.

"We are now trying to use purpose-built equipment for the function — the environment is unique and you need to have the appropriate equipment to suit that environment."

Daysworth International has sold and serviced Kalmar and Ottawa brand terminal tractors for 30 years. According to Managing Director Ivan Vodanovich, the push for transport efficiency has seen increasing number of companies adopt the specialised equipment.

"Terminal tractors are specifically designed to spot and move trailers in the easiest, safest and most efficient manner," he says.

"More and more companies have come to realise significant productivity improvements, reduce costs and their exposure to OH&S risk with the use of Daysworth Ottawa terminal tractors."

Interislander, a division of Toll NZ's operations, was keen to access high-level service and support and Daysworth has established a New Zealand sales and service representative.

"That was a major driver for us in making the decision," Shepherd says.

"Daysworth has a good track record from a reliability point of view and their service reputation is very good. Together with their ability to supply parts and a quick turnaround, it really put them ahead of the competition.

"It will mean better utilisation of our ships and increase our flexibility and our service deliver to our customers."

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