There is always something going on in the Australian trucking and freight industry. Take a look at some news updates from December and January.
Recent road closures
Late January saw Victoria Highway and the Adelaide-Darwin railway line made inaccessible due to flooding.
Supermarket shelves were empty in and around Darwin over the weekend of January 20th and 21st. Heavy rain caused the closure of around 600 km of the Stuart Highway, as well as the entirety of the Victoria Highway. To make matters worse, bad weather also caused damage to railway lines in the Carpentaria and Barkly regions, causing more disruptions to loads headed north.
Unfortunately, weather disruptions are set to continue, with ex-cyclone Kirrily bringing rain to north-east Queensland.
New camera technology to shape NSW freight industry
New trials are being carried out in NSW of revolutionary new camera technology that could reduce congestion and increase road safety nationwide.
The solar powered, high-definition cameras will take pictures of heavy freight movement in order to help the government better understand freight movement around the state.
After a picture is taken, artificial intelligence within the unit can tell the difference between different types of heavy vehicles, for example, a container carrying heavy vehicle, B-Double or Semi-trailer. The photos will be separated into different categories to help keep track of road usage in NSW, including the type of vehicle and the type of product being transported.
Read more here:
Should truck heights be extended?
Calls are being made for truck heights to be extended after the latest statistics in NSW showed a significant fall in over height truck incidents. November 2023 saw only four over height incidents compared to 25 in November 2022.
The call, by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), is for the maximum height of trucks to be raised to 4.6 metres, a rise of 0.3 metres from the current limit.
The reasoning behind the call for change is that the current restriction is causing operators to apply for 1,143 permits a year. Raising height restrictions could save the industry $95,000 in permit fees and save time to a value of around $91,000.
Is ‘HyWay’ driving the way of the future?
Countrywide Hydrogen has started a feasibility study into increasing the possibility of hydrogen-powered freight between Adelaide and Melbourne.
In a bid to lower carbon emissions across the country, the study will investigate possible hydrogen refueling sites along a new ‘Hyway’ (that’s a Hydrogen Highway), that includes Portland, Warrnambool and Mount Gambier.
Hydrogen fuel cells work similarly to batteries and are a possible game changer for road vehicles. While having a similarly low carbon footprint to electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells are considerably quicker to refill. They are also refilled in a manner much more akin to filling up a regular petrol or diesel vehicle, making it easier and more familiar.
Truck executive jailed over road crash
A former transport executive was jailed for up to three years over what was described as ‘reckless workplace behavior’ in the lead-up to a crash that killed four police officers.
The individual was found guilty of failing to follow health and safety standards while working as national operations manager.
The offenses that led to the penalty reportedly included completing false timesheets, failing to ensure drivers were managing their fatigue appropriately and systemic failures to ensure safety measures were followed.