Prime Mover July 2024

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Wash It Australia Quantum Leap



A clean fleet is a clean image


Unlike a standard wash bay, We are able to setup a temporary washbay onsite! This cuts costs and time down considerably by eliminating lengthy trips to offsite washbays. We also utilise a road legal Yard Tug, This allows our team to move trailers around your yard without setting foot on the ground!


With multiple collection methods to suit most situations, We are able to collect and remove all truck wash water from the premise to be disposed of safely. All of this is done at no additional cost!


As Australia’s leading mobile washing supplier, We are in position to service fleets sizes from 15 to 15,000! Wash It Australia is proudly the preffered supplier for Australia’s largest transport company & Australia’s largest supply chain solutions


Australia’s leading truck magazine, Prime Mover, continues to invest more in its products and showcases a deep pool of editorial talent with a unique mix of experience and knowledge.

Christine Clancy | COO

With more than two decades of experience as a media professional, Christine has worked in newsrooms across Canada, Vietnam and Australia. She joined the Prime Creative Media team 12 years ago, and today oversees more than 43 titles, including a dozen print and digital transportation titles. She continues to lead a team that focuses on continuous improvement to deliver quality insights that helps the commercial road transport industry grow.

William Craske | Editor

Over the past two decades William has published widely on transport, logistics, politics, agriculture, cinema, music and sports

He has held senior positions in marketing and publicity for multinational businesses in the entertainment industry and is the author of two plays and a book on Australian lm history. Like many based in Melbourne he is in a prolonged transition of either returning or leaving.

Peter Shields | Senior Feature Writer

A seasoned transport industry professional, Peter has spent more than a decade in the media industry. Starting out as a heavy vehicle mechanic, he managed a fuel tanker eet and held a range of senior marketing and management positions in the oil and chemicals industry before becoming a nationally acclaimed transport journalist.

Peter White | Journalist

Since completing a Bachelor of Media and Communication degree at La Trobe University in 2021, Peter has obtained valuable newsroom experience, supplemented by direct industry exposure at Prime Creative Media. As the Editor of Trailer, Peter brings a fresh perspective to Prime Mover. He has a strong interest in commercial road transport and in furthering the magazine’s goal of growing the industry.

Ashley Blachford | Business Development Manager

Handling placements for Prime Mover magazine, Ashley has a unique perspective on the world of truck building both domestically and internationally. Focused on delivering the best results for advertisers, Ashley works closely with the editorial team to ensure the best integration of brand messaging across both print and digital platforms.

CEO John Murphy

Editor William Craske

Managing Editor, Luke Applebee

Transport Group

Senior Feature Peter Shields Writer

Business Ashley Blachford Development Manager 0425 699 819

Art Director Blake Storey

Design Kerry Pert , Louis Romero, Tom Anderson

Journalists Peter White

Aisling Geraghty

Design Production Michelle Weston Manager

Client Success Salma Kennedy Manager

Head Of ce 379 Docklands Drive, Docklands VIC 3008


03 9690 8766

Prime Mover magazine is available by subscription from the publisher. The right of refusal is reserved by the publisher.

Annual rates: AUS $110.00 (inc GST).

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All articles submitted for publication become the property of the publisher. The Editor reserves the right to adjust any article to conform with the magazine format.


PRIME MOVER magazine is owned and published by Prime Creative Media.

All material in PRIME MOVER magazine is copyright and no part may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic or mechanical including information and retrieval systems) without written permission of the publisher.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information

Prime Creative Media will not accept responsibility for errors or omissions or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published. The opinions expressed in PRIME MOVER magazine are not necessarily the opinions of, or endorsed by the publisher unless otherwise stated.

The Hino 700 Series has long been one of Australia’s favourite heavy-duty trucks. There is a wide range of axle configurations,

“With the hours of operation that we work, there’s weekends and a lot of night stuff, we needed someone who has a strong network nationally.”

48 Organic Growth

Compost processing business, Purearth has taken delivery of a new MAN TGS. It’s one of the first day cabs built on the new truck platform in the country to be deployed as a tipper quad dog.



30 Quantum Leap

Wash It Australia is a story of entrepreneurial vision, independence and unyielding belief with a bit of good luck thrown in.

36 Keep Cool

In the cultural melting pot of Western Sydney, one couple demonstrate that hard work and excellent service create a successful specialist transport company.

40 Border Line

TML Transport, an Adelaide-based trucking outfit, is on a mission to expand its high-performance freight vehicle fleet.


44 Leaps and Bounds

Five new Western Star X Series trucks have entered operations for well-known Wollongong trucking business Ross Transport.

Electric Avenue

The latest eCanter is the second generation of Fuso’s offering to the electric truck market.

Regular Run

Transporting goods in Australia at altitude is not a common task. Aside from being the driest continent on earth it’s also the attest with 94 per cent of its land less than 600 metres above sea level.

Being able to occasionally discuss the considerations of eets and operators who navigate high country, escarpments and ranges closer to the coastal climes where we, as a populace, cling like baby lemurs to their mothers, are nearly always of interest for the many evaluations and challenges that go into assessing an optimised driveline and running gear built-for-purpose on terrain not typically conducive to higher mass transports.

Trucks in South America regularly are required to travel from Chile to Bolivia, a distance around 1700kms, over the Andes ranges encountering temperatures that can vary between below 15 to plus 30 Celsius.

There are ve vertical climate zones across the Andes starting with the Tierra Client at sea level to the Snowline, at the highest, where glaciers are found on high peaks. While few commercial vehicles enter this zone, with the mountain

Taking the High Road

range standing at 13,000 feet at its highest points, a sophisticated supply chain, nevertheless has existed here for millennia.

By 1528, the Inca Empire covered an expanse approximate to 1.1 million km². Some 40,000 kilometres of roads connected mountainous terrain where a population of 12 million moved goods on paved highways, vast swathes of which are still in good condition 500 years later. Engineer and Sociologist Andrew Côté has noted that these roads, which served many purposes, facilitated the movement of all types of traf c and something referred to as tampus — roadside supply depots provisioned by the regionally taxed local inhabitants. The Incas, after all, were an empire albeit a preliterate one.

The network of Inca roads, storage facilities and administrative sites followed consistent organisation principles focused on ef cient communication and transportation. The layout of this network suggests municipal surveyors were primarily concerned with minimising the costs of movement between regional sites of authority, as opposed to maximising the ef ciency of transportation within regions. In short, the best routes were prioritised, not unlike they are in our digitally optimised age today, for the most effective means of transport. To make this happen advanced engineering solutions such as suspension bridges, extensive switchback stairways, retaining walls and canals to control erosion, all without an iron tool in sight, were crucial to the functioning infrastructure. For order visibility, an accounting system maintained by knots in pieces of string called khipu helped to keep track of the

freight, the vast majority of which was hauled by foot. Carriers moved premium products such as herbal medicine, gold and hallucinogenic plants and psychotropic stimulants.

Royalty including the Emperor usually travelled by litter. Pack animals, certainly Llamas, helped to carry some goods.

To maintain its empire, the Inca mobilised a professional army over a long distance. The highway network enabled the faster transport of military units to quell rebellion or advance the frontier of empire.

The road also offered a unique communication medium: A corps of imperial messengers, the chaski, ran in relays, passing spoken messages 150 miles a day between Quito, one of the northernmost points of the empire, and Cuzco, the Peruvian Inca capital. The main road apparently served as a conduit for products that represented the riches of this vast domain. Feathers and wildlife from the jungle, gold and silver from Bolivia, massive stones pushed all the way from present day Ecuador, for use in temple construction, and beach sand transported from the Paci c coast to ll the ceremonial main plaza at Cuzco. That same road even today is peppered with apacheta, a shrine consisting of a stone pinnacle abutting a smooth stone platform.

Modernity saw to it that roads now pre gure our sacred sites. With the Inca the opposite held true. The road was considered sacred. The New England Highway, at least in its current form, has a way to go.

Versatility that’s good for business

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> Truck industry findings reveal resilient, dynamic sector

Earlier this year, Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) released new independent research detailing key trends and challenges within Australia’s commercial road transport sector. The company’s thought leadership series, The Future of Trucking Report: The Way Forward, published in April, is based on input from more than 1,300 survey respondents from across the transport and logistic industry.

IAL Chief of Sales and Aftersales, Ben Lasry, discussed the reaction of road transport operators to the report explaining that there is no denying change in the industry is happening at a rapid pace.

“If the current state of Australia’s road transport industry and related sectors could be distilled down into a single descriptor, I’d have to opt for the word change,” he said.

Pinpointing the key challenges that

emerged in the report, Lasry refers to the previous Future of Trucking report published in 2020, where half of all businesses surveyed said that their industry would change rapidly over the coming three years.

“This level of uncertainty represents a significant increase from the previous report, where only a third of businesses felt that the pace of industry change was of foremost concern,” said Lasry.

“One constant we can bank on in the transport sector is the persistent challenges faced by businesses large and small. The rise in the price of fuel –and the global forces dictating it – are of course a key one and of significant concern to the majority in the sector as the report outlines in greater detail.”

Despite these challenges the industry has demonstrated its capability to adapt.

Recent data shows changes in buyer

> Silk Logistics announces new Managing Director

Silk Logistics Holdings Limited has announced that Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Boyd, would retire from his current executive role. The decision was effective in late May.

Boyd despite stepping down will continue to support and advise the company as he transitions to a NonExecutive Director where he will be able to provide stability as “an invaluable source of customer, industry, operational and strategic knowledge,” the company said in a statement.

Accordingly, the Board has announced that Co-Founder and current Executive Director and Chief Customer Officer, John Sood, will be Boyd’s successor. Sood’s appointment as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer is effective from 22 May 2024.

“We would like to extend our appreciation to Brendan for his leadership, service, passion, contribution, and accomplishments,” Silk said in a prepared statement making

special mention of the positive impact Boyd had had on the careers of many at the company.

“As Co-Founder and CEO, Brendan has successfully guided the Company through a prolonged period of growth and transformation.

“Brendan is highly respected throughout

behaviour. Specifically, the purchase of more efficient, cost effective and safer trucks.

Meanwhile, the national freight task continues its upwards trajectory in terms of demand. As a critical period for the industry lies ahead this may seem daunting to some businesses. However, from analysing the findings of the report, Lasry is positive that many are well prepared for what lies ahead.

“With such change upon us at a pivotal juncture in the history of our industry, this second instalment of the Future of Trucking is both timely and valuable for all stakeholders,” he said. “In such a dynamic and ‘essential’ industry, there will always be a multitude of challenges and the findings of this report paint the picture of a sector that’s willing to tough-out the harder times and continue to work towards innovative solutions to new problems.”

the industry and within Silk and will be missed by the team.

“We wish Brendan all the best and look forward to working with him as an active member of the Silk Board.”

Before founding Silk, Sood worked at Swire Cold Storage, Westgate Logistics and Linfox.

Image: Scania Australia.
Brendan Boyd, Former Silk Logistics CEO.

> Holcim deploys hydrogen hybrids in the Pilbara

Holcim, Scania and HYDI are partnering to decarbonise the logistics chain in Australia’s remote northwest. Roadtrains are used by Holcim Australia to transport quarry materials from the Turner River, Newman and Nickol Bay quarries in the Pilbara region to fixed and mobile concrete batch plants and other customers. Scania R620 V8 Euro 5 145-tonne-rated prime movers are deployed for this task. Each roadtrain pulls a payload of up to 100 tonnes in triple trailer configurations, on haul distances from as little as 10 kilometres up to 600 kilometres. To help advance Holcim’s ambition to reduce Scope 3 emissions by reducing diesel consumption and emissions, two prime movers were retrofitted with a HYDI Hydrogen on Demand HY2500 vertical unit that produces hydrogen on demand for controlled delivery to internal combustion engines.

Holcim has seen reductions in fuel consumption of up to 15 per cent.

This is only part of the benefit of the hybrid system explained Adam Evans, Logistics Manager for Aggregates Western Australia at Holcim.

“On top of the fuel consumption figures, excitingly, we’re seeing the additional emission reductions of 17 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO₂), 80 per cent lower diesel particulate matter (DPM), 22 per cent lower

nitrogen oxides (NOX), and 25 per cent lower carbon monoxide (CO),” he said. Holcim, according to Robert Taylor, Scania Australia General Manager, Mining, has seen fuel performance savings estimated at 15 per cent when hauling payloads up to 100-tonnes in three-trailer combinations.

“The Scania onboard management system confirms these figures,” he said. “The reductions in fuel burn and reductions in emissions, is entirely in line with our aim at Scania to reduce emissions during the entire working lives of our products.”

Holcim is set to install HYDI systems in two additional prime movers as well as some of its contractor fleet throughout Western Australia.

“We are also exploring options to have HYDI units installed on other equipment including diesel generators and heavy mining equipment,” said Evans.

The HYDI unit produces hydrogen from distilled water using electrolysis via a proton exchange membrane. The unit draws a low electrical input from the host engine while in operation. Hydrogen supplements the diesel fuel to create a cleaner and more complete combustion process with the amount of hydrogen produced optimised for the capacity and application of the engine. Developed in Australia over more than a decade, the leading-edge technology delivers improved machinery

performance by increasing torque, a reduction in fuel consumption, cleaner burn that reduces engine soot and extends oil and filter service intervals, and lower harmful emissions including DPM, CO₂ and CO. The system provides the capability to transition heavy, dieselpowered machinery into cleaner, more cost-efficient equipment at a fraction of the cost of replacement.

“HYDI’s technology harnesses the benefits of hydrogen in an efficient, affordable and sophisticated way scaled to apply to multiple applications,” noted John Wilson, Managing Director of HYDI. Scania has been a committed and enthusiastic partner in the trial and have honoured the original repair and maintenance package provided with the vehicles.

“Scania stepped up to the project, made sure we had all the vehicle and system information needed for a smooth installation of the HYDI units, and are eager to help us extend the project even further,” said Evans.

The HYDI Hydrogen on Demand system can be simply, quickly and relatively inexpensively integrated into the existing diesel technology of Scania vehicles.

“In Australia we have to say that realistically the general availability of reliable, affordable hydrogen as a fuel for heavy haulage is still some way off, particularly regarding use in remote mining operations,” said Taylor.

“As a result, the HYDI Hydrogen on Demand solution does appear to be providing a real-world and affordable solution for our customers who want or need to make an immediate reduction in fuel burn and their carbon footprint emissions across their transport functions.”

The investment and installation of this leading-edge transitional technology into the Holcim fleet further highlights the company’s commitment to reduce its Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions 90 per cent by 2050 from a 2020 base year it said in a statement.

Image: Holcim.
Holcim’s Scania R 620 V8 hydrogen hybrid.

> QFES begins Australian-first

Two new prime movers are set to be delivered to QFES as part of an Australian first trial. The Volvo trucks –one running on Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and the other electric – will support operational logistics at Caloundra and Townsville.

Built at the Volvo factory in Wacol, Brisbane, the HVO-powered truck comes with the latest 13-litre Euro 6 technology, allowing it to run on either the alternative fuel or regular diesel. During the trial, the prime mover –to be based in Townsville – will be operated solely on HVO to test its ability to survive the rigours of the job, covering significant distances across North Queensland on the alternative fuel source.

The electric-powered truck – the first Volvo FMX electric prime mover ordered in Australia – will be based at Caloundra and will be used for logistics delivery runs as part of its trial.

QFES Fleet has undertaken significant research into alternative technologies and reduced carbon fuel options to decarbonise the heavy vehicle fleet and is working towards meeting Queensland Government emissions targets. An evaluation trial will be undertaken during the first 12 months of operational service with data collated via on-board vehicle information management systems and field evaluations from

truck trial

QFES personnel, with the support of  Volvo.

There will also be a collaborative arrangement with the University of Queensland, in which the university’s researchers will support the evaluation phase of the trial.

“This trial breaks new ground for Queensland’s emergency services and represents a significant step forward for greener transportation,” said Minister for Fire, Disaster Recovery and Minister for Corrective Services Nikki Boyd. “The State Government is proud to be forging ahead with this trial and the move toward decarbonising the QFES fleet.”

QFES, it is understood, is the first Queensland Government department to introduce and conduct a trial operating heavy vehicles on HVO and pure electric.

“Volvo is at the forefront of electrified heavy road transport technology and I have no doubt firefighters will be eager to participate in this trial and get behind the wheel,” said Boyd. “The further adoption of electric and HVO-powered trucks will have a positive impact on all Queenslanders, through lower emissions, a reduction in noise pollution and in the case of electric vehicles, lower running costs.”

Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni said with the transport sector contributing more

than 15 per cent of Queensland’s total emissions, it’s critical all facets of Government work together to decarbonise their operations.

“Today’s announcement not only benefits the hardworking women and men of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, but so too does it support local manufacturing and clean economy jobs,” he said. “By partnering with Volvo to deliver this nation-leading trial, the Miles Government is locking in a future made in Queensland, for Queenslanders.”

At last year’s Brisbane Truck Show, Volvo executives announced they had received the first Australian order for an electric FMX prime mover from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Commissioner Steve Smith said his department was proud to be leading the charge in the effort to reduce emissions.

“Both the electric and HVO-powered truck will be trialed in a non-critical tier of response and operations, allowing QFES the ability to assess the benefits of the vehicles before adopting them further into the fleet,” he said. “There are about 500 heavy vehicles in the Fire and Rescue Service fleet and another 1030 in the Rural Fire Service, so this pilot plays a pivotal role in shaping the approach we take towards the decarbonisation of our service.”

Image: Volvo Group.
Nikki Boyd address guests at Volvo Group Australia headquarters in Wacol.


The most-tested Western Star ever, the all-new X-Series is seriously tough. Boasting our legendary Star durability, the X-Series features a powerful integrated driveline, advanced safety systems, and superior comfort - even in the most rugged

of applications. But talk is cheap. Experience it for yourself.


> Herb Blanchard Haulage adds new 560hp prime mover

Grafton transport company, Herb Blanchard Haulage, has added a new 560 R-series SUPER prime mover to its fleet of trucks. The Scania features the CR23 extended cab to provide extra room for the driver who can stretch out on an ultra-wide and comfortable pocket spring mattress.

Blanchards, which has been buying Scanias for around 15 years, is a family run business that has successfully carved itself a niche role, hauling Clarence Valley-produced timber electric light poles throughout New South Wales, as well as Queensland, and as far afield as Western Victoria. The new truck has been painted at the factory in Blanchard’s iconic light blue with royal blue chassis.

Herb Blanchard’s three sons, Michael, Robert, and Christopher along with daughter Donna and brother-in-law Greg run the haulage firm, which has been a long-time devotee of Swedish trucks. Previously the fleet had opted for Scania V8s.

“Our core business is transporting light poles, which can range in length

from 6 to 26 metres, carried on flattops and/or extendable trailers,” said Robert Blanchard. “We cart from the light pole manufacturers’ depots located in the Clarence Valley to the energy companies’ depots, and as far as possible and try to ensure we have a full load for the return, usually bricks, timber or other palletised or packed and wrapped materials.

“We have been in business long enough to have figured out what works for us, both in terms of efficiency, productivity and how to keep our drivers happy, and we are expecting good fuel performance from the new 560hp six-cylinder 13-litre engine in the new prime mover.”

European trucks, according to Blanchard, gave the business peaceof-mind particularly for their safety, technology and comfort.

“We have a general rule that drivers won’t be behind the wheel past midnight, mainly because the freight is not time sensitive, and we want to keep our drivers safe,” he said. “Lately, we have transitioned to electronic work diaries, and use fleet monitoring, as well as

> Canberra gets new Hino dealership

Hino Australia has launched a new dealership, Canberra Hino, in the nation’s capital.

“We are delighted that Eagers Automotive has further increased its involvement with Hino with the opening of Canberra Hino,” said Richard Emery, President and CEO of Hino Australia. Dealer Principal of Canberra Hino, Mirko Milic brings almost 20 years of experience as a Dealer Principal, most recently at Canberra Toyota and Lexus. Emery said Canberra is an important market for Hino.

“Its residents, businesses and government departments are renowned for their commitment to the environment, so we expect our 300 Series Hybrid Electric light-duty truck to be extremely popular,” he said.

Mirko Milic said he he was excited about

the opportunities ahead.

“The new dealership is centrally located on the former site of Canberra Toyota in Fyshwick – Canberra Toyota is wellknown in the local community for its

onboard cameras, but only to have a record in the event of an incident. The Optix forward-and driver-facing cameras use AI to alert us if a driver has forgotten his seatbelt or is holding a phone to his ear.

The Scanias go to Mid-Coast Trucks for major servicing but do intermediate service at the Blanchards workshop.

“Mid-Coast has been very accommodating and we have a good relationship with them. They’re only an hour away so quite convenient,” said Blanchard. “It is important today to keep costs to a minimum, but we don’t simply buy the cheapest of anything. We look for good quality and value. Cheapest is not always best. We reckon if you can get at least two of service, quality and price in the equation, you’ve done well.”

Tyres, for instance, hold true to this said Blanchard.

“If you can get 240,000km from a set of drive tyres, they’ll be more costeffective in the long run than a cheaper set that only gives you 140,000km, not to mention the reduced downtime changing them over more often,” he said.

commitment to customers and aftersales service,” said Milic.

“This ethos forms the foundation of our culture at Canberra Hino where our team combines excellent Hino sales, parts and service knowledge with a skilled and experienced management team.

“The new dealership features a 200m² indoor showroom, an additional five service bays, a parts warehouse with an increased capacity of 4000m², and a dedicated wash bay.

“Personally, I’ve enjoyed my return to the Hino family and the trucking industry — I loved my ten years as General Manager of Tory Hino and have more recently been a shareholder in a competing truck brand,” he said.

Hino Australia’s dealership network comprises of 65 sales and service centres nationwide.

Image: Hino Australia.
Dealer Principal of Canberra Hino, Mirko Milic.


• 60% less ash than conventional API CK-4

• Extends DPF maintenance period

• Maximises fuel economy

• Prolongs oil change interval

> Mack launches all-new Euro 6 range

Mack Trucks Australia has launched its most powerful power plant yet and standard safety as it revaled an all-new Euro 6 range. A whole new range of Mack drivetrains have been launched including an all-new range topping 780hp 17-litre MP11 engine with 3800Nm of torque.

The Mack Super-Liner has already held the title of Australia’s most powerful conventional truck for over a decade and has carved out an enviable reputation for power, durability, and efficiency in some of the toughest transport tasks Australia has to offer. Joining the new big-block engine is a revamped 13-litre eSCR Euro 6 MP8 which, like the rest of the new Euro 6 range, benefits from new low friction cylinder liners, wave top pistons, a more efficient turbocharger, and a revised electronics system to provide more precise fuel delivery and combustion.

Mack Anthem’s potential as a fuel efficiency champion on the highway has also been given a shot in the arm with the arrival of the new MP8HE (High Efficiency) engine platform. The MP8HE utilises turbo compound technology to scavenge extra energy from the engine’s exhaust flow and transfer that power directly to the engine crankshaft. The result is a hefty 2800Nm torque figure, significantly higher than the standard Mack MP8 engine. A keen focus on the progression of safety features continues to be an important hallmark of the Mack offering.

With Mack’s evolution of Bendix Wingman Fusion and new Mack infotainment system with standard rear-view camera and optional additional cameras, Mack customers will benefit from an improved level of visibility and safety on the job site. The fully integrated 70-inch, walk-through

sleeper will also be available for order with Euro 6 Super-Liner and Titan products.

Featuring multiple configuration options including single and double bunks, the new sleeper Mack Trucks Australia expects will deliver a whole new standard of driver comfort.

“To say we’re excited to bring this range of engines to market here in Australia would be an understatement,” said Tom Chapman, Vice President Mack Trucks Australia. “To be able to now offer both power and efficiency across such a broad array of transport tasks in this country is truly game changing for Mack.

“Ultimately, the biggest winners here will be our customers.”

The new Mack Trucks Euro 6 range is now available to order with the first vehicles expected to hit the road in early 2025.

Image: Mack Australia.
Euro 6 rated Mack Trident truck and dog.

Leading the way in vehicle safety and performance

Scully RSV is on a mission to have the safest vehicles on the road. Every day.

Scully RSV and SafetyCulture have partnered to develop an industry leading initiative for transport safety. The digital safety inspection captures the performance of Scully RSV vehicles each and every time they are used on our roads.

The SafetyCulture platform enables a more efficient and optimised inspection capture and reporting system for vehicle compliance and safety. Delivered via a QR code scan, users can launch and complete the vehicle inspection in less than 30 seconds.

Scully RSV is proud to be bringing this initiative to market with Safety Culture and leading the way in keeping our communities and their families safe. It’s another great example of delivering on the customer promise, that Scully RSV fleet is managed to the highest levels of quality, safety and reliability.

> Former FBT Transport boss passes

Trevor Martyn, a principal figure in the road freight and logistics industries, has passed. The Victorian Transport Association offered a tribute recently to its former President who was also Managing Director at FBT Transport. It was Martyn who helped establish FBT Transport as a leading freight and logistics company in the chemical and fuels sector having been the lead negotiator in the takeover of Transwest Bulk Haulage which would eventually become, as it is more commonly known these days, FBT Transwest.

During Martyn’s term as Managing Director of FBT Transwest it was soon regarded as the leading and safest company in the carrying of dangerous  goods.

According to Peter Anderson, VTA CEO, the company was regularly consulted by authorities about best practice industry actions and as the leaders in carrying dangerous products by their industry peers.

“During Trevor’s term as Managing Director he was on various Association representative bodies,” recalled Anderson in a statement.

“He was Chairman of the Bulk Tanker

Association which achieved many industry safety initiatives in road and workplace safety.

“His company was also an integral part of the Victorian Waste Management Association.”

Martyn was President of the Victorian Transport Association for six years.

In his time as President the Association developed many unique activities such as a Young Executive Program, a major Freight Congress and Awards night, which attracted up to 3000 people at one dinner event and is still running today.

In 2003 Martyn launched the Victorian Presidents dinner, now into its 22nd year.

“Part of the President’s role was

> NHVR calls for fast reform of the PBS scheme

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released its Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper, calling for swift reform of the PerformanceBased Standards (PBS) scheme.

NHVR Chief Safety and Productivity Officer David Hourigan said the paper called on industry and government to work alongside the regulator to create positive change for the road transport sector.

“The Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper outlines how we can work handin-hand with our partners to remove barriers to the productivity potential of the heavy vehicle industry,” Hourigan said. “This will help us accelerate the transition to a younger and less polluting heavy vehicle fleet, and most

importantly, save lives.”

At present in Australia, the safest, most productive, and lower emission heavy vehicles face more barriers to get on the road than a standard ‘prescriptive’ heavy vehicle, according to Hourigan, resulting in higher emissions, loss of productivity benefits and more fatalities.

“We need to modernise the PBS scheme, and to do this we must change the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL),” Hourigan said. “We seek to work with government and industry to reset the PBS scheme’s policy settings and update the PBS standards.”

While the PBS scheme had proven popular, Hourigan said it was initially designed to act as a pathway for

involvement in industrial relations issues, with the VTA the leading Association in this field,” said Anderson.

“Many award and enterprise agreements were established with the Transport Workers’ Union and the Association, with Trevor’s leadership and foresight.”

He was on the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation council during a particularly turbulent period.

Following his time with the VTA Martyn became Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association for two years.

“The industry regarded Trevor Martyn as a true leader in all parts of the transport industry and he was widely regarded due to his commitment, time and effort,” said Anderson.

“We also acknowledge his other involvement interests such as in the driver training area, as the chairman of the Mayflower Brighton Aged Care Homes and a further commitment to Brighton Rotary over many years.

“The Victorian Transport Association acknowledges a great leader, a fine gentleman, and a Doyen of our industry.

Our thoughts and condolences are with Judy, daughters Miranda and Sally and all the Martyn family.”

innovative designs and technologies to be safely developed and deployed and was now failing to operate as originally intended.

“Rather than allowing for new truck designs, it is dominated by more or less of the same vehicles,” he said. “Of more than 20,000 PBS combinations on Australia’s roads, almost half consist of one vehicle type — the truck and dog combination.”

Through the Removing Roadblocks to Reform paper, the NHVR is calling for amendments to the HVNL to allow for mature and proven PBS vehicles to transition to the prescriptive vehicle fleet. The NHVR will continue to engage with industry and government to seek commitment to enact positive change.

Image: PCM.
Trevor Martyn.

> ODLS moves third 477-tonne superload 1000kms

Overdimensional Lift and Shift (ODLS) has used five prime movers to move a transformer from Victoria to New South Wales. The 477-tonne heavy haulage assignment led by a Mack Titan traversed two states last month under supervision of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

The load measured 125 metres in length and was 5.8 metres wide and 5.2m high with the ability to lower for structures/tunnels as required.

Anthony May, ODLS Director, who took part in the assignment, steering the rear trailer from the cabin, said it was the third and final delivery made on the Waratah Super Battery Project.

“It took five days all up with a 24 hour break in between,” he said. “These transformers are on all night moves and ended up at the old power station at Lake Munmorah south of Newcastle.”

The 1,000-kilometre journey, assisted by four NHVR pilot and escort vehicles within Victoria, started at

Wilson Transformers in Glen Waverley before it moved through the North Eastern suburbs of Melbourne to the Hume Highway and onwards to the Central Coast.

With Eraring Power Station anticipated to shut down in 2027, a Battery Energy Storage System has been conceived to ensure reliable energy supplies, and offer reserve transmission capacity and stability during emergencies. The system will be capable of discharging up to 850MW, which includes a nominal 700MW of core service and an additional 150MW capacity to maximise availability of the core service. The latest transformer was sent to the former Munmorah coal-fired power station which closed June 2012.

Two Mack Titans, two specialty-made Kenworth C501 Brutes and a MercedesBenz Actros 2763 were all working in tandem on the journey. The Actros, which features an AMT transmission, comes with a retarder and torque


The Mack Titans are built with double chassis rails and include a 4-speed joey box that enable up to 20 forward gears. These trucks are rated from 190-tonnes to 250-tonnes.

May, who is 53 and has been working in the industry since he was 15, said demand for superloads had increased through the burgeoning renewable energy sector and power suppliers ramping up their requirements for new transformers.

“We’ve already got a series of jobs lined up the first of which is in Adelaide where we’ll help transport a 200-tonne load bound for the Boorolong Wind Farm,” he added. Transformers coming off the wharf at Gladstone will, following that job, be transported by ODLS three hours north to a wind turbine project at Clark Creek. There are nine heavy spec’d heavy-duty trucks in the fleet. Another new Kenworth Brute is on order and due in March next year.

Mack Titan leads the Superload convoy through Melbourne.

> Freight volumes monitored by cameras in NSW

A program is being continued to install machine learning traffic cameras across New South Wales. The state’s north and west regions will be part of the latest trial using the state-of-theart technology conducted by Transport for NSW. Counting and classifying cameras are being installed to “better understand freight movements to help reduce congestion, improve road safety outcomes, and encourage more efficient deliveries” according to a departmental statement issued

last month. The technology is seen as another tool that can be used to help manage increasing freight volumes, which are expected to rise across NSW by 28 per cent by 2036 over a 2018 baseline.

The new cameras will be installed at the following locations: Castlereagh Hwy, Lightning Ridge; Carnarvon Hwy, Moree; Gwydir Hwy, Glen Innes; New England Hwy, Tenterfield; Bengalla Rd, Bengalla; John Renshaw Dr, Buttai;

> IOR cuts ribbon at new Lytton facility

Bulk fuel supplier and transporter, IOR has officially opened its new facility at Port West Industrial Estate. Located at Lytton, the new Radar Street facility comprises a warehouse for lubricants and general parts storage as well as a workshop, corporate office, truck wash, diesel refuelling station, with bowsers by IOR and driver amenities. The site also comes with truck/trailer parking hardstand. As part of the development, the Port of Brisbane


secured and delivered a new access road connecting directly to Lytton Road. It’s the third IOR facility completed at the Port over the last 12 months following IOR’s major upgrade of its 110-million-litre Lytton Fuel Terminal and delivery of its Fuel Tank Fabrication and AdBlue manufacturing facility on Howard Smith Drive last year. Combined, these are significant investments by IOR in the Port of Brisbane and the Queensland economy

John Renshaw Dr, Buchanan. High-definition pictures of heavy vehicles are taken by the cameras that are then classified into the type of vehicle in transit and the type of cargo being transported.

This heavy vehicle traffic information will enable Transport for NSW to better understand freight movements with the aim of assisting long-term planning for the movement of goods in NSW. The cameras, according to Transport for NSW, are not used for enforcement.

and community.

The IOR and Port of Brisbane teams were joined at the ceremony by project partners, led by principal contractor McNab.

“Thank you for a huge amount of effort and collaboration on this highly technical project Johnstaff, Sparc, Ashburner Francis, Northrop Consulting Engineers, ACOR Consultants, Douglas Partners,” the Port of Brisbane said in a statement.

Craig Membrey celebrates 60th birthday with ‘bucket list’ Kenworth T610

Membrey’s Transport & Crane Hire Director, Craig Membrey, has taken delivery of a new Kenworth T610 for the fleet’s heavy haulage division. With a custom-built bullbar and 860mm sleeper cab, the prime mover is powered by a 600hp Euro 5 Cummins X15 engine capable of 2,050 lb.ft of torque and an Endurant XD Pro 18-speed transmission. Membrey told Prime Mover that the Kenworth was another truck on his bucket list which he can now say he proudly owns.

“I love Kenworths and I thought it was a pretty cool looking truck, so it was great that we could do one in my colours,” he said. “The T610s have really good fuel economy because of the aerodynamic cabs on them.”

In its operations, the T610 will cart B-doubles and roadtrains all around

Australia for the fleet’s heavy haulage division. According to Membrey, who took the prime mover for its first trip up to Rye Park Wind Farm in New South Wales, it has performed fantastically so far.

“It’s comfortable to drive and it’s got an automatic in it, so I can’t miss any gears,” he said.

The unit is also equipped with a smart TV, microwave, fridge and Icepack — all driver comfort features which Membrey said will make its long journeys more enjoyable for the operators.

“It has plenty of features that we love supplying to drivers to make their lives easier, because it’s a hard life doing interstate haulage,” he said. “The more luxuries there are, the more comfortable the drivers are.”

The Cummins X15 engine, like the many

other instalments in the fleet, has also shown its worth.

“We haven’t had any dramas with them at all,” Membrey said. “We’ve had an awesome run with all of our X15s, so we’re really impressed with their performance.”

Membrey’s Transport & Crane Hire was established in 1962 with just four prime movers and eight pieces of equipment.

It has since grown to now operate a fleet of over 100 highly specialised trailers. Membrey, who has been operating the business for more than 34 years, treated himself to the new Kenworth for his 60th birthday.

“I like doing trucks up and I love spending money, unfortunately,” he said. “So, as part of my celebration for my 60th birthday, I went a bit crazy and bought a few toys.”

Australia’s construction industry is facing a labour crunch and supply chain issues, which means builders need to be more cost conscious than ever before. Your vehicles are an obvious place to start. Geotab’s innovative open platform for fleet management helps project managers track assets, increase equipment uptime and lower operating costs seamlessly. Here are three reasons why Geotab’s telematics technology might be the right fit for your construction project:

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Enjoy Fuel Tax Credit Rebates with our data automation

Fuel Tax Credit Rebates can offer substantial savings for construction businesses, especially if they use a lot of fuel. But those savings could be far less if an accountant has to spend valuable hours collecting and untangling the data in order to get the payment processed. Geotab’s solutions can make the process much easier. Our telematics technology can accurately measure on and off-road usage, which is essential data used to claim fuel tax credit rebates. Calculating usage is a different process for construction sites, as it focuses on engine hours instead of distance travelled. GO9 RUGGED can track data on fuel usage and economy, and can also track fuel usage while trucks (such as a cement truck) are stationary and idling.

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Our devices are built tough, to withstand conditions on work sites. Our GO9 RUGGED device is ideal for heavy equipment, construction, utilities, powered assets and trucks. It’s also IP68 and IP69K rated with impact, water and humidity resistant housing.


journey with


JD Refrigerated Transport introduces electric truck, appoints new executive

JD Refrigerated Transport has launched its first battery electric vehicle.

A Volvo Electric FL has gone into a trial with the company’s partners Inghams Group Limited and Eurocold Revora EV. The vehicle will be servicing major Ingham clients such as Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Brisbane Metro area.

“As we strive to adapt to the changing landscape of transportation, integrating sustainable options is paramount,” said JD Refrigerated Transport in a statement.

“This trial signifies our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and embracing innovative solutions.”

In other news at the Queensland cold


carrier, JD Refrigerated Transport has named Chris Lowndes as its General Manager of Financial and Commercial. A chartered accountant, Lowndes has a strong background in financial management and senior leadership roles covering a variety of industries and business’s at various development stages across his career to date.

Lowndes will support the development and execution of strategy and growth objectives within the growing JD Refrigerated Transport business. Starting as a graduate accountant at Price Waterhouse and then moving into a financial management consulting role working in Sydney and overseas, Lowndes has worked with a

variety of clients to analyse business requirements with a view to identifying and implementing solutions.

Lowndes has been specifically operating in the role of Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary over the last 20 years.

This includes time at veterinary wholesale business, Provet Holdings Limited, which grew significantly over a period of seven years and eventually listed on the ASX.

“Chris brings this experience to JD Refrigerated Transport and is keen to assist the business with its growth trajectory and be part of a dynamic leadership team,” the company said in a statement.

Shell V-Power Racing Team receives all-new MAN TGX 26.640

Penske Australia & New Zealand has delivered an all-new MAN TGX 26.640 to the Shell V-Power Racing Team. It marks the third MAN truck taken by Dick Johnson Racing and builds on a 10-year relationship with MAN Truck & Bus, the accomplished Supercars team, victorious in 10 drivers’ championships and three teams’ championships.

“It’s wonderful to partner with the Shell V-Power Racing Team again, delivering a truck that we believe redefines the Australian trucking landscape,” said Craig Lee, Penske Executive General

Manager of On-Highway.

“Streamlined and modern, the TGX is incredibly spacious, boasting an optimised dash layout and a luxurious rest and sleep area.

“Featuring innovative driver assistance systems and 640 horsepower, the team can rest assured that its precious cargo will be well taken care of.”

The economical engine, improved aerodynamics, and many other efficiency-enhancing innovations have improved fuel savings while the advanced driver assistance systems,

including emergency brake assist, lane guard system, adaptive cruise control, and anti-locking braking, combine state-of-the-art technology with intuitive operation.

Underpinned by an intuitive operating philosophy, the driving environment is predicated on outstanding ergonomics, SmartSelect navigation, a comfortable bed, generous storage space, and a modern and easy-to-use infotainment system.

Shell V-Power Racing Team CEO David Noble added that MAN made for a winning solution.

“With MAN, we’ve always had a highly reliable and efficient prime mover to transport our race cars and equipment to Supercar rounds,” said Noble.

“The new transporter contributes to our mission in achieving carbon-neutral status as a race team, giving us one of the most efficient fuel-burning prime movers on the road,” he continued.

“Wherever our transporter driver travels across our vast country this year, not only can he count on the might of MAN, but also the extensive support coverage provided by Penske Australia and its comprehensive network of dealers.”

Image: Penske Australia.
Wayne Cowper, Shell V-Power Racing Team’s transporter driver.


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> Amazon set to debut 50 new Volvo electric trucks

Amazon has begun rolling out heavyduty electric trucks in its ocean freight division. The e-commerce giant is in the process of introducing nearly 50 heavy-duty electric trucks in Southern California, the largest fleet of these vehicles for Amazon in any country to date.

The battery-electric Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric trucks will haul cargo containers and customer packages from the ports in Long Beach to an Amazon facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, where items are prepared for the next leg in their

journey—middle mile. Combined, these trucks are expected to travel more than one million miles each year with zero tailpipe emissions. Amazon expects to have 12 of these units up and running by the end of the year.

It’s an important step towards decarbonising every step of delivery across first, middle, and last mile according to Amazon. Trucks in middle mile move customer orders between Amazon’s fulfillment centres, sort centres, air facilities, and, finally, delivery stations, where packages are loaded

> DB Schenker to deploy new Scania electric truck

European logistics company DB Schenker will replace a long haul diesel truck with a Scania electric heavy vehicle. The Scania is expected to operate in regular scheduled traffic between Jönköping and Södertälje in Sweden, a distance of 300 kilometres on one charge. It will transport goods between the DB Schenker terminals during evenings and nights. During the day it will distribute goods to the transport company’s customers at each location.

Charging of the vehicle will take place on-site at DB Schenker’s terminals, using ABB E-mobility’s highpower charger.

“For DB Schenker, the aim is to test and gain experience with all-electric

heavy vehicles in long distance scheduled traffic,” said Anna Hagberg, Head of Network & Linehaul at DB Schenker. “Electrification plays a decisive role in our transition to fossilfree transport and since heavy traffic accounts for the largest emissions, it is incredibly important.”

The truck has an installed battery

into last mile vans to be delivered to customer doorsteps. Amazon has deployed 35 electric heavy-duty vehicles in Southern California and have installed over 45 direct current (DC) fast chargers across 11 sites to power the trucks.

“We’re proud to launch our largest fleet of electric heavy-duty vehicles yet in California,” said Udit Madan, Vice President of Worldwide Amazon Operations. “Heavy-duty trucking is a particularly difficult area to decarbonise, which makes us all the more excited to have these vehicles on the road today.

“We’ll use what we learn from deploying these vehicles as we continue to identify and invest in solutions to reduce emissions in our transportation network, and to impact sustainability in the trucking industry more broadly.”

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks have a range spanning up to 440 kilometres and a gross combination weight of 37 tonnes. The heavy-duty vehicles are also equipped with safety features including active collision mitigation, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

capacity of 728 kWh. The vehicle has been equipped with extra batteries to be able to operate without recharging with 64 tonnes gross tonne weight and 24 metre length for approximately 300 kilometres in Nordic conditions.

“The vehicle is Scania’s first long distance battery electric vehicle with this capacity. I am very pleased that we are now starting our first customer tests,” said David Gotthardsson, Solution Concept Leader at Scania.

The evaluation is part of E-Charge, a Swedish research project that gathers 14 stakeholders to develop, test and demonstrate battery-electric long haul truck transport and to accelerate the development towards more sustainable transport.

Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric.
Scania heavy electric truck.
Image: Amazon.
Image: Scania.

> Port carrier orders 100 Nikola hydrogen trucks

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach drayage carrier, AiLO Logistics, has placed a 100-truck order of Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The order was made from Tom’s Truck Centers, a member of the Nikola sales and service dealer network. Deliveries are scheduled for 2025.

As part of AiLO’s ongoing efforts to advance sustainable logistics services, the company’s drayage division is poised for expansion. This includes incorporating 100 Nikola hydrogen FCEVs into their operations to meet the growing demands of the port industry.

“Nikola trucks are on the road today, and the biggest test of our trucks is measured by our customers and their repeat orders,” said Ryan Clayton, Global Head of Sales, Nikola Corporation.

“Having a prominent and mission-driven customer in AiLO not only purchase trucks for 2024 but double their order for 2025 is an honor for our organisation and a testament to their drive to make a difference.

“We are glad to support with Class 8 vehicles as well as our HYLA energy infrastructure.”

AiLO, a newly rebranded company combining other corporations, including MDB Transportation, had previously ordered 50 Nikola FCEVs from Tom’s Truck Centers. Deliveries from that original order have commenced and are ongoing throughout 2024.

“We’re not just in the business of moving goods — we’re in the business of moving businesses forward. Through innovation, technology, and sustainable practices, we aim to redefine the logistics landscape and drive positive change in the industry,” said Jack Khudikyan, AiLO CEO.

“This strategic move to incorporate Nikola FCEVs into our operations reaffirms our commitment to environmental stewardship and underscores our proactive approach toward embracing cutting-edge technologies.”

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A Nikola FCEV in Las Vegas. Image: Nikola Motors.


Outside the Wash It headquarters in Brisbane.


Wash It Australia is a story of entrepreneurial vision, independence and unyielding belief with a bit of good luck thrown in.

Images: Lucy Robertson-Cuninghame/
Prime Creative Media.

In the beginning there was sponges. They were contained in a giant plastic carryall that was so big it took up most of the space in the storage facility Ben Hennock kept it in. The problem was that he needed to access the space every week in order to do his day job which was lling up vending machines. The sponges were always seemingly in the way.

The subleased warehouse in Chirnside where he would deliver to the nearby Fortitude Valley, was saving Ben from having to pull every single can and coin out and count it each time he returned to the Coca Cola yard. To avoid having to do that, like all the other drivers, he would instead use this makeshift satellite depot. Here he did a stocktake once a week instead of three times a day. But the

big bag of sponges – $2000 worth to be exact – purchased from Clark Rubber was always in the way. In fact, the bag, which was bigger than his van, was proving itself an ongoing inconvenience.

Washing trucks was, at rst, a supplementary income while Ben, an early school leaver, apprenticed as a chef. It was weekend work that even at a young age he knew instinctively had promise. The Mum and Pop small business he had been working for three years earlier, while limited to one site, struck him as having great potential as an enterprise. The bag of sponges, like some nuisance reminder of miscarried ambition, had been his rst investment in a future truck wash business. For the moment, however, all it did was seemingly mock him each time he dragged it out of the

way for a stocktake.

The year was 2008. Every Thursday B105, a Brisbane radio station, ran a competition called the Fugitive. The idea was to nd the so-called fugitive who was at an undisclosed location after B105 teased listeners with clues. Ben was familiar with the competition. The clues until recently had usually pointed to his area on the northside of the city. That morning he was convinced the fugitive was at Strathmore West eld, only minutes from his warehouse. He jumped in the van. Coming down the shopping centre escalators his suspicion was soon substantiated. He won $5000.

That money, along with a $20,000 personal loan, was used to purchase some pressure washers and a ute that seeded the national company Ben now owns,

Ben Hennock with Alana Kennedy, Wash It National Account Manager.

Wash It Australia.

At that same self-storage facility, the customers had use of three trucks. Ben used them too, only to show his rst staff – two mates from high school – how to properly wash a truck. The Brisbane business eventually expanded, rstly to Melbourne. Sydney, Adelaide, Townsville, Mackay, and Perth followed. He scaled the business geographically rather than nancially knowing the former, if done right, would lead to positive outcomes in the latter.

Their rst two customers were FJ Walker, now known as McKee Distribution, who are responsible for the McDonald’s delivery trucks; and Toll Car Carriers. At the time Ford and Holden enjoyed strong output from their manufacturing facilities meaning the vehicles needed

to be delivered to dealerships and so car carrying was still a signi cant segment of commercial road transport. At age 22 when large sections of the male population are adjusting the volume on the test cricket to soothe their hangover Ben was running his own company on nights and weekends. It paid off. By the age of 35 he moved about the country from the comfort of a private jet — he owned.

The business now maintains national contracts with the likes of Coles, Woolworths, FedEx, Australia Post, SCT Logistics, Team Global Express and others.

Put simply, Wash It Australia is a fully mobile out t with satellite depots in every capital city. They attend customer sites where, as part of their unique service,

they will lay out a large UV-resistant wash mat that can catch all the water which is recycled and reused. They currently service 6000 vehicles a week nationally.

“We lay out a big environmental PVC mat, which features block up sides,” explains Ben. “It has a portable catchment area. We will drive a truck onto it, wash the truck, capture the water, recycle it, reuse it, put it down sewer or take it off site, whatever the requirement might be.”

The business now employs nearly 200 staff. There’s a General Manager, Operations Manager, Compliance and Business Development Managers like Alana Kennedy, who has been with the business nine years, that oversee the national business and state managers below that. Head management and

The new Terberb EV tractor in Western Australia.

support are scattered throughout Australia. The team, like the vehicles it operates, are uniformly dressed in the distinct bubble insignia of the company. There are 11 Isuzu trucks in the eet. They nd use for both the smaller Isuzu FTR 150-260s and the medium-duty F Series, mainly the FRRs. Both models are built and designed to a similar application as water trucks.

“We have 15,000-litres of water that we

take out to site,” Ben says.

“The trucks all have custom bodies to carry the eet wash and carry water with the pressure cleaners.”

Wash It operates brush machines that the operator, not dissimilar to a golf cart, sits inside of. The equipment stands at a height of 4.8 metres. In order to reduce the dimensions a special body has been customised.

“They can’t stand inside them or they

would take out all the bridges on the highway,” says Ben. “And so the body is customised where it now lays down.

Predominantly, these brush machines are imported on trailers that require the operator to lay at.”

Ben came up with an idea so as to maximise what he felt was wasted space.

“We had it put on a bit of an angle, so it doesn’t have to lay so horizontal,” he says. “There’s water tanks underneath the

Ben Hennock in front of an Isuzu FRR.

eet wash as we call it.”

On the FTRs, the mobile brush machine is detached from the truck where it is operated vertically. The machine is then driven around the truck or trailer that needs washing, saving time and manual labour. The FTRs were initially purchased as a solution to carry an increase in water and to take away more wastewater.

With the light- and medium-duty truck category one of the most competitive

product lines in the country, there was never a question Wash It Australia would rely on any other brand other than Isuzu. The chief selling point foremost, according to Ben, was Isuzu’s standout network.

“With the hours of operation that we work, there’s weekends and a lot of night stuff, we needed someone who has a strong network nationally,” says Ben. “Isuzu offers that without question from a breakdown and service point of view.”

The Isuzu NQRs are nimble enough to access some of the tighter sites like a customer’s wash bay or the smaller undercover carparks often encountered. Feedback sought out by Ben on these trucks and the team that operates them is used to build a pro le to further the ef ciencies they can exploit on the next vehicle that is purchased.

The latest unit from Isuzu is a NLR 45 traypack. It was deployed recently at the Wash It site in Perth. The location is important strategically for the business where three of its biggest clients, Team Global Express, Woolworths and Coles are all nestled side-by-side. This close proximity was the premise behind the latest mobile asset in the business, the Terberg EV yard tractor.

“With the EV vehicle the maximum we can get out of it is 60 kilometres,” says Ben. “Having the site with three customers side-by-side cuts that range limitation out.”

The Terberg EV tractor, according to Ben, is extremely quiet.

“Especially when you’re pulling a loaded semi you can’t hear this thing coming at all,” he says. “That’s the only downside to it.”

To mitigate any risks to safety, the Terberg EV tractor is now equipped with a reverse squawker that works 24/7 once it is activated. Wash It has tted it aftermarket.

The tractor lives at the TGE workshop where it is charged overnight.

“The beauty about it is we grab the trailer and go to the wash. We turn the vehicle off, and they wash it, and the vehicle is turned back on,” says Ben. “It’s not

running all day.”

To lower its emissions, Wash It has recently invested in electric pressure cleaners and electric brush machines as well.

“Obviously, the way the world is going, and our customers are going we thought that it would be the right thing to do,” adds Ben.

Contrary to assumption, a mobile truck wash will operate in all kinds of conditions even when it’s raining. Cold carriers that use refrigerated trailers constantly require that these are cleaned regularly for food safety compliance.

“We can have rain pouring down for a week but we’ve still got to send the crew out to hose out the insides for the sanitisation requirements made of our customers because they cart food,” says Ben. “We offer small details or blowouts for the insides of the cabs. Deep cleans, also, for COVID.”

The majority of the customers are on either weekly, fortnightly or monthly schedules.

“We don’t just do one-offs,” says Ben. “There are usually 20 or more vehicles at each site.”

The business also performs jobs across the corporate world including the V8 Supercars.

“There is a lot of sites where we re t the wash space or we put staff in to operate it,” says Ben. The logistics of putting together a full portable wash can be catered to individual customers. That said, the process of washing the vehicles, from 12-pallets rigids to heavy haulage prime movers, varies little.

There’s some expansion to come later this year. Northern Queensland and country New South Wales are the next sites in the of ng after having expanded their network into country Victoria earlier in the year. Ben hopes to be in New Zealand by the end of the year.

“There’s always a lot happening and as we get bigger so do the challenges,” says Ben. “But with every challenge also comes opportunity. Some days it feels like we’re just getting started.”


In the cultural melting pot of Western Sydney, one couple demonstrate that hard work and excellent service create a successful specialist transport company.

The pandemic was instrumental in con rming to the population that food items didn’t just magically appear in supermarkets and that an ef cient network of transportation is required to ensure reliable deliveries of essential foodstuffs. Whether it’s a full truck

load or just a few cartons, temperature control is key to food freshness and hygiene. The food safety requirements of end clients, whether supermarket customers or end users such as restaurants and cafes, depend upon operations such as CoolWay Trans to manage the challenges associated with

CoolWay staff attend to a B-double.

the logistics of refrigerated transport and storage.

The single truck operation Sunny Ahmed and his wife Anna established in 2014 has since grown to more than 60 trucks and more than 100 staff on an ever-expanding national footprint. CoolWay’s eet of temperaturecontrolled vans and trucks is closely managed to ensure food items are maintained at the applicable correct temperatures be they frozen, chilled or dry. To support the on-road operations, CoolWay has established its own network of temperature-controlled warehouses strategically located in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. In 2011-12 Sunny worked collecting trolleys in a suburban shopping centre and observed refrigerated trucks

delivering items to fast food outlets such as Pizza Hut and KFC. He progressed to delivering pizzas for Dominoes, before moving on to hold driver roles in the transport divisions of Aldi, StarTrack, Linfox and Chemtrans. These roles provided Sunny with a comprehensive understanding of transport, and it was his position as an afternoon shift manager at the Sydney branch of Adelaide Refrigerated which provided a valuable background in specialised refrigerated transport. Sunny still harboured the strong aspiration of getting his own truck, which he did with Anna and some nancial help from his parents in 2014, sub-contracting urgent and after-hours deliveries for a courier company specialising in refrigerated transport. That rst truck was a ten-

pallet UD PK240 automatic. Sunny kept working at his full-time job at Adelaide Refrigerated and engaged his rst driver on what became the genesis for CoolWay Trans.

“The company we contracted to went broke, and a customer called me and said they needed a truck there the next morning,” recalls Sunny. “I told them I felt it was wrong to go to them directly but they told me the company had gone bust and ‘You get the truck here tomorrow morning you can have this work’.”

Sunny adds, “That’s how CoolWay started — 12 years on we still have that customer and the same driver now operates one of our B-doubles.”

As more trucks have been required Sunny has expanded the eet

CoolWay owners Sunny and Anna Ahmed.

predominantly with brands from the Volvo Group: UD, Mack and Volvo. Sunny remains impressed by the UD’s abilities to be reliable and capable of carrying the weight, which in ef cient refrigerated transport is mostly at maximum GVM, while returning excellent fuel ef ciency. The twin-steer con guration on the latest model UD CG 32 430s contributes to con dence in relation to axle weight compliance and presents the opportunity to perform regional work which other 14-pallet operators with single steer trucks may nd dif cult due to the risk of being overweight on the front axle. The ‘local’ trucks are already mostly UD and there is a plan to standardise the eet over the next few years and phase out other makes to eventually be entirely Volvo-UD.

“We just want to stick to the one brand, and I want to have trucks universal so I can use them anywhere,” says Sunny.

Regular runs include the Central Coast and Newcastle daily plus Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie twice per week and Canberra three times a week. The interstate linehaul trucks can cover up to 5,000 kilometres each week. Servicing of trucks and trailers is carried out inhouse and more than $100,000 has been spent recently on equipment including truck hoists.

CoolWay has been an enthusiastic adopter of the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme and runs a refrigerated A-double weekly to Perth, often recon guring as a triple roadtrain from Wagga Wagga with an additional trailer which is taken up from Melbourne.

“That’s the beauty of having your own eet and drivers,” says Sunny. “You know your costs and you can be sure about compliance.”

Sunny envisages even more PBS combinations in CoolWay’s future with

the goal to move more freight with less cost and less emissions. It is unlikely that CoolWay will be ordering any more traditional B-double trailer sets, concentrating instead on tag trailers and dollies.

“Like every other business we want to be pro table and even though we can’t currently take an A-double as far as our Brisbane depot in Acacia Ridge, it’s proved more ef cient to break the trailers up at Chinderah,” he says. “To survive we have to be competitive and for those reasons PBS is going to play a big role.” During the next two years Sunny is looking at the feasibility of utilising 12-pallet refrigerated pig trailers to

Sonny Ahmed with a new UD Quon.

complement the rigid trucks used in regional areas such as Dubbo and Canberra.

“Instead of sending a semi-trailer and a rigid to Canberra twice a week, a 12-pallet pig trailer behind the rigid can have access anywhere and when the DC deliveries are done, the driver can drop the pig and then do shopping centre direct drops from the rigid,” Sunny explains.

CoolWay trucks are monitored every kilometre of their journeys using Hub eet which incorporates electronic work diaries and operates via the mobile phone network.

“We have a dedicated person monitoring

at all times and making sure the GPS location matches the logbook,” Sunny says. This also applies to the ‘local’ trucks operating within the statuary 100 kilometres of their base and a comprehensive pre-start check is performed every time a driver leaves a yard regardless of their destination.

“I learned a lot from the big corporates, and I just want to be able to sleep at night and not be concerned about what’s going on with our trucks,” adds Sunny. The choice of Carrier fridge units also goes back to CoolWay’s early days.

“Back in the day when we were new, Darrin Klein from Carrier came and spoke with us. We were nobody, just ve

trucks, and he said he wanted us to buy a unit, not necessarily then, but sometime in the ve years,” says Sunny. “Carrier go above and beyond and we can just ring them 24/7 for backup service. Carrier has supplied ve out of the six B-double sets we’ve acquired in the past year.”

Sunny and Anna have a philosophy of not growing by acquisition but want to continue to expand their business organically.

“We don’t want to be the biggest, we just want to be the best without our trucks breaking down,” he says. “We want to be the Ferrari of refrigerated transport, and with more customers and an expanded eet we can deliver even better service.”

A UD Quon with a front mounted Carrier unit.


TML Transport, an Adelaide-based trucking out t, is on a mission to expand its high-performance freight vehicle eet.

When it became clearly evident for the minority of doubters that road freight was essential to community wellbeing and the means of keeping a half-life economy moving in 2020, many businesses in the sphere experienced a purple patch of growth. TML Transport was one such operation. The Adelaide-based eet is under the control of Managing Director Lewis Magro. A veteran of the industry, Lewis established

the business — not his rst — back in 2007 with a solitary vehicle. By the time COVID hit the eet had approximately 50 trucks at its disposal. Just four years later it has doubled to 100 prime movers — all of them Kenworth.

While it may not be a household name in the industry perhaps it should be. In 2023 it launched, without much fanfare, its rst B-triples into Melbourne. That proved to be the tip of the iceberg. Not soon after it launched a series of AB-triples into Perth.

One of the new Kenworth K220s on highway in South Australia.

More recently it inaugurated B-triple linehaul into Sydney from Adelaide in April. The company is presently in the process of converting 80 per cent of its vehicles for maximum utilisation according to Lewis.

“That’s what our aim is and that 80 per cent utilisation will be for AB-triples from Adelaide to Perth and Adelaide into Darwin and B-triples into Sydney and Victoria,” he says. “With the remaining 20 per cent you’re always going to have your stragglers that you can’t marry up with trailers.”

TML Transport rst sought out Performance-Based Standards accreditation in 2021. That PBS baptism manifested as a 42-pallet quad double, something of a singularity in freight applications, of which the eet has several sets currently in operation. These were commissioned for exclusive use between Adelaide and Sydney every night via Mildura for changeovers before they advance as shuttles. It was a major express delivery service that helped to commission these units. There are six in total. Prior to the recent prevalence of B-triples as a long-range freight solution, the 42-pallet

application was one of the best ways to augment the extra volume on overnight loads according to Lewis.

“They’re very viable with the customers who use them,” says Lewis. “They do use more fuel because they’ve got a lot more drag to contend with.”

In this instance, nontheless, the customer sees the ongoing value in these PBS units.

“Our customers will invest where it’s appropriate with their valued partners to pay for the extra room,” says Lewis.

“They’ve been a great partner for us — they are unbelievable to work for.”

Heading in the opposite direction out west, AB-triples not only help to increase capacity but, in turn, free up funds that can be redistributed through operations. “The AB-triples simply allow us to do that,” says Lewis. “You’ve got more volume, and with that more money, more money in the journey to pay for the trailer, the truck, and the driver gets a wage they’re happy with.”

Rail disruptions caused by ooding in March which battered the Nullarbor and Gold elds in Western Australia saw the Trans-Australian Railway Line and

Images: Nick Borzo/TML Transport.
A B-triple combination with trailers from Vawdrey.

Eyre Highway both cut off from freight networks. The highway was eventually reopened after a 48-hour embargo to traf c and soon became the dominant emergency freight route as logistics companies, who relied on transporting goods via train into Western Australia, a state reliant on receiving 80 per cent of its food by rail, turned to the road with many trucks having to undergo a detour of hundreds of kilometres, especially those heading east.

“On a weekend we send out an average of 25 roadtrains,” says Lewis. “With our capability we sent out 42 when the rail went down on that rst Saturday.”

For ve weeks the team did their best to cope with the swelling demands as the eet went from just under 100 per cent utilisation to 150 per cent.

“Trucks that we usually wouldn’t turn around so fast were engaged again just to make it happen,” says Lewis. “That’s what you do but it was exhausting.”

These roadtrains travel for TML Transport from Adelaide into Norseman then north to Coolgardie before the nal destination of Perth. During the period, under an emergency ruling, the state government permitted roadtrain and B-triple combinations to travel down the grade at Greenmount on the Darling Scarp, which saved time on what would otherwise been an unnecessary dog run. Lewis, who can’t help but question the logic behind the restrictions, would otherwise like to see that route opened up on a full-time basis.

“When the rail is down, it’s roadtrain accessible,” he says. “But when the rail is up it’s a case of shut it all down mate.”

Nearly 90 per cent of all new trailer orders go through Paul Vawdrey including this latest batch.

“The only time he doesn’t get the gig is when I’m in a hurry and I will look elsewhere as long as it all ts into spec,” says Lewis.

The business possesses just on 400 trailers. Vawdrey have just delivered ve new sets. Over the last year TML Transport has increased its purchasing power when it comes to new equipment

for PBS approved linehaul applications. Technically, the business already services Adelaide to Brisbane with roadtrains. They run as far as Gatton, less than an hour from the Queensland capital, where decoupling can take place.

“You wouldn’t even entertain the idea of getting AB-triples into Brisbane because eventually it’s going to happen naturally,” says Lewis.

Being aligned with several top tier overnight freight carriers has instilled an enterprising strategy when it comes to the procurement of new heavy vehicles.

The acquisition of approximately ten new Kenworth prime movers each year makes this commitment demonstrable.

So far in 2024, TML Transport has added six new Kenworth K220s, the rst being a prototype PACCAR Australia loaned out to Lewis for 12-months of evaluation, which he purchased after 400,000 kilometres. “That’s basically one year’s work. They all won’t be doing 400,000km a year,” he says. “It’s why I’ve moved to B-triples because we’re trying to go down the road of one truck, one driver.”

The move to designating each driver their own vehicle in accordance with the rigours of interstate travel is part of a plan to appeal to a shrinking albeit specialist labour force. Lewis supports a crew of long-serving drivers whose ranks he wants to bolster going forward.

“It’s about enticing the older drivers and the experienced guys who know what they are doing that have been around trucks most of their life,” he says. “One truck, one driver is how to entice them. They can keep their stuff in the vehicle. There’s a sense of permanency. My guys don’t wash them or fuel them. As long as they keep the truck tidy and keep the tyres nice, it’s their truck. If they want extra lights tted, no dramas.”

The Kenworths in the eet are being evenly split between manual gearboxes and automated transmissions for this reason. “Some drivers aren’t comfortable in manuals towing the heavy loads and some people hate automatics,” Lewis says. “It works out well with the team and we do a

50/50 split for that reason.”

The more traditional pools of where transport organisations may have scouted prospective talent are fast diminishing. Word-of-mouth still travels but doesn’t go as far as it once did. If the best drivers drive to a certain standard, it’s not unreasonable in a highly competitive market, that they, in turn, can expect the same of their equipment.

“If you’re good enough you will get one truck, one driver and that’s no different whether you’re a new Australian or new to the industry,” he says. “There’s a balancing act for sure — to nd good drivers on the one hand and on the other to retain those driving at that higher level.”

New drivers can expect to sit behind a Cummins Euro 5 580 horsepower X15 engine. All new prime movers feature one although the prototype K220, which Lewis trialled for 12 months, is powered by a Euro 6 rated powerplant.

Trucks have been a part of Lewis’ world since he was a boy. His father, Victor, has been in the game for 50 years. He is the key principal behind Two Wells Logistics, also a general freight carrier based in South Australia that occasionally partners with TML Transport.

“Every year we grow,” says Lewis. “We had a big jump over the COVID period. Now that we’ve got through the dif cult part we’re now on a smooth run.”

Kenworth T909 A-B triple.
A new Kenworth K220 leaves the depot.


Five new Western Star X-Series trucks have entered operations for well-known Wollongong trucking business Ross Transport.

In just the last six months Ross Transport has added ve new Western Star X-Series prime mover and tipper combinations. As a loyal customer to the Western Star brand, Ross Transport has since 1988, when the company was broadening its footprint, purchased nearly 40 different Western Stars, all new aside from one.

Now that the latest X-Series range from the brand has been introduced into Australia, it’s no surprise Ross Transport were one of the rst eets in line for a major delivery, which as so happens is headlined by a Western Star 48X with a new Detroit DD16 driveline. Ross Transport, par for the course, have adorned the cab and tipper sides of this truck and dog combination in popular cartoon characters — this time from the kids show Bluey — to much acclaim from the general public. It’s still too soon to talk fuel economy numbers from the new DD16, which produces up to 600hp and 2,050 lbs.ft on a truck developed speci cally for the Australian market, Alan is nonetheless impressed. “It’s dif cult to make judgements after the rst month as the drivers get better acquainted with the truck,” says Alan Ross, Ross Transport Owner. “It’s very different to the DD15.”

Getting into a new version of the Western Star, as is often the case on some of the new truck platforms, can be intimidating. The transition from the old Western Star to the new one has been very good so far according to Alan who describes the new driveline as “very driver friendly” in comparison.

“I’m feeling very con dent that they’re going to be a great truck,” he says. “Boy, does it hang on unbelievably.”

Given the mountainous terrain of its home base, Ross Transport would make for an ideal test subject for evaluating the product in an environment with a degree of dif culty.

“We’re in Wollongong and everywhere out of here is a big hill and some of the trucks are climbing up and down a lot of times a day,” he says. “With the other

engine we use, it only got to a ratio of 4:11.”

Two of the latest generation Detroit DD13 Western Star 48X trucks are fast making a big impression with the team with the fuel burn results looking most promising.

“The guys in the DD13s love them,” says Alan. “They’ve had to get used to the electronics which is a noticeable upgrade from the previous range. I haven’t had a truck on fuel economy like these DD13s since the old MBE days before EGR.”

According to Alan, one of the new DD13 Western Stars is going at 2.5 kilometres per litre and the other is 2.3.

“My MBEs used to work on about 2.4 but they had nowhere near as much horsepower as these new DD13s,” adds Alan.

At present the Detroit DD13 48Xs are carrying 57 tonnes in the truck and dog division. The big gains, however, have been noticeable in the Southern Steel jobs trekking from Illawarra to Sydney,

Ross Transport Owner Alan Ross.


Canberra, and Moruya. These trucks average between 15 and 18 tonnes in payload. On this job the Bluey DD16 regularly handles 38 tonnes carrying steel. That’s one of their biggest payloads in the application.

“The Kenworth Legend is getting 37.6 tonnes while the new Western Star is averaging 38.5,” says Alan. “That’s an improvement in payload close to 1.3 tonnes.”

For Alan this is a return to previous Freightliner weights.

“The aluminium cab and overall design including the hood, air intake system, cab, frame rails and chassis has lifted up our productivity,” he says. “If you get the right driver in the truck the results speak for themselves.”

The ability of some drivers can make all the difference when it comes to making gains in productivity, if only incrementally. But Alan nds attitude is where it all starts.

“I won’t say all my drivers are perfect with great attitudes, but I would tell you

90 per cent of them are great people,” he says. “But it takes all types especially in this industry.”

On the technology front, Ross Transport has just installed MTData telematics in 60 of the trucks in the eet. Incab the prime movers are equipped with two rear-facing cameras and one forward-facing camera. Alan, however, is reluctant to introduce driver monitoring cameras.

“If we do have to go down that path in the cabin, I would try to put it behind

Western Star 48X ‘Bluey’ truck and dog.

the driver so as not to be so invasive,” he says. “The main reason why we would do it is to reduce the incidents of phone use. That will be why the Seeing Eye cameras get introduced here.”

In the meantime, Alan is embarking on an around Australia road trip. His rst impulse is to install the Guardian technology in his car for the length of the journey to experience it rsthand. “If I can put one in my car and I can handle it than I can say to a driver they’re not that bad,” he says. “I haven’t had a problem yet with my drivers but sometimes you shouldn’t wait for the problem.”

One of the DD13 Western Stars, with the automated manual Detroit DT12 transmission, is being used as a stepping stone for drivers new to the industry at Ross Transport. It will serve as part of a gradual transition process from medium

rigid trucks to prime movers.

“Coming out of COVID we found it really hard to nd drivers again,” says Alan. “There were a few trucks parked up here and it meant we couldn’t supply our customers.”

In response, Ross Transport advertised for drivers with the enticement that it would pay for the licence providing the prospective driver agreed to stay 12 months. Only two prospects from the whole process opted out.

Alan credits Tru with coming up with the idea.

“We train all our own employees now. It’s only way that we can successfully do this to meet our own requirements,” he says. “What’s more it’s a good idea to make the process less scary and easier for some of them.”

Alan, for his part, is no fan of automatic transmissions given the initial nancial

outlay. The business, after all, runs a top-notch workshop where manual gearboxes and engines are often rebuilt. The animating principle here is to get the most out of equipment. It’s not uncommon that the Western Stars and Kenworths are run for 15 years. The Freightliners are turned over every ve. The eet, at similar intervals, will introduce commemorative units. For the 45th anniversary celebration, Ross Transport commissioned new maroon, gun metal grey and magenta prime movers. The magenta Kenworth made a splash, especially on social media, where the eet maintains a routine presence.

“I’ve probably got the most varied and multiple coloured truck eet in the country,” says Alan. That’s a claim he can back up. Many of the truck and dog combinations, depending on the OEM, feature iconic cartoon characters,

The ‘Bluey’ features the new Detroit DD16 driveline.

superheroes and other gures from popular culture brandished on the cabs and sides of the tippers.

Raising funds for families affected by life threatening medical conditions, the Illawarra Convoy Free Family Fun Day is the largest truck and motorbike convoy in the country. Ross Transport has been an event sponsor for many years. This is where its comic book inspired truck combinations rst originated. The Convoy raises up to $2.5 million thanks, in part, to the efforts of local businesses like Ross Transport. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Convoy.

The new ‘Bluey’ Western Star 48X with the DD16 is, not surprisingly in light of the show’s current popularity, generating enormous feedback from the public according to Alan.

It’s for this reason that Tru receives dozens of messages every week concerning the ‘Bluey truck.’

“People thank us and will beep the truck and they will message saying they waved

to the driver and the driver waved back and it made their kids smile that day,” she says. “It’s de nitely striking a chord with children and families.”

It got immediate attention, in fact, from the moment they launched the unit in April. To the point it has gone viral on TikTok where they have had nearly 200,000 views of the rst post unveiling it, supplanting the ‘pink Kenworth’ for most views on their social media.

“We want to change the perception of the public of what trucks and truck drivers are,” says Alan. “We’re not bad people. Most of us have families and care about this world.”

Speaking of changing perceptions, the support from Penske Australia, Alan notes, is now exemplary, marking a major improvement in recent years.

“I have to say Penske has come a long way in the last 12 months particularly with their servicing capabilities,” he says.

“The changes made in the Sydney dealership has changed the product for

us as well.”

The rst signs of change were evident three years ago in Sydney according to Alan, who says after a slow start the change management process is now in full effect.

“In Sydney Penske has got a new manager, Ben Holden, and it’s gone on leaps and bounds since then,” he says. “They have made it much simpler for us to work with their people. It’s great now.”

Alan is hoping to scale down in the coming years, by, in part, moving some assets over to his daughter Tru who runs her own business when she’s not helping out Alan.

Only the goal of scaling down is not working. Despite meeting his original goal of having 50 trucks by the age of 50, he’s now up to 70 at the age of 62.

“I was supposed to go down after 50,” he says. “Next year is the 50th anniversary of the business. There will be at least one more on the way for that.”

One of the new X-Series Western Stars used for Southern Steel.

Compost processing business Purearth has taken delivery of a new MAN TGS. It’s one of the rst day cabs built on the new truck platform in the country to be deployed as a tipper quad dog.

MAN TGS.2654 truck and dog in eastern Perth.
Images: Penske Australia.

In Australia 7.3 million tonnes of recyclable organic waste go into land ll, where it decomposes and creates methane. Methane is considered 26 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. To divert organic waste from land ll into a valuable resource, the FOGO initiative co-ordinated by the Federal Government through local councils, allows for composting on a commercial scale in which organics derived from food and garden are recycled so that they can be used to make nutrient-rich garden products.

Alongside his brother Sean, Paul Curtis runs a retail landscape supply business, Little Loads, that has been in their family since 1979. An expansion into manufacturing and processing informed a decision in 2003 to commence Purearth. Under government licence they operate a composting facility just over 30 kilometres east of where the business is based at High Wycombe, not far from the Perth Airport. That facility receives organic feedstock from businesses in the form of food processing and green waste, grease trap waste, brewery waste and residual animal waste.

Commercial facilities use a range of technologies to aerate the material, from tractor-drawn and self-propelled windrow turners to sophisticated aerated systems with automated controls such as the one Purearth uses. The aerated static pile composting system relies on perforated piping at the bottom of the pile to oxygenate the material before it is processed by control equipment. Then that environmental information runs back through a programmable logic controller to of ce computers to ensure temperatures, moisture and oxygen are organised to accelerate the composting. “We generally pasteurise material in a couple of weeks and hold it for another two weeks before it comes off there and is stored until such time that it gets screened and processed for sale and further use,” says Paul. “It’s a minus 8mm compost product that’s the black gold and that then goes into landscape products that are used widely across the landscape industry.”

This includes the Little Loads yard they own and another 15 landscape businesses Purearth delivers to.

The company also supplies to the agriculture sector for crop growing. Trucks are naturally needed to move the material from the facility and back to Perth every day and from farms to the many outlets across the metropolitan area. The six trucks in the eet are companyowned with provision for sub-contractors who are also used when required. These trucks are evenly allocated between the retail business and bulk division.

The compost facility, the rst to be awarded a contract by the government in the state, is undergoing a site expansion currently. That will allow Purearth to process up to 100,000 tonnes of organics a year. It’s currently doing half that.

tonnes GCM. Though capable of 90 tonnes with its 540hp 12.4-litre Euro 5 engine, Purearth have spec’d the unit at 70 tonnes given it has ample power output for the jobs being asked of it.

“Being a new model the extra horsepower was a distinct advantage and we were very happy about that,” Paul says. “We’ve already got an older model MAN 2016 model and that’s been very good for us.”

The new truck comes with good references. A recent Winner of the IAA Truck of the Year, Paul said when he was shown the vehicle initially by Scott Hall from Penske Australia in Perth, there was an immediate attraction. New safety systems featured on the truck certainly have helped. The MAN TGS comes with emergency braking, lane guard, adaptive cruise control, and MAN BrakeMatic, which incorporates a three-

There’s also a 358-acre farm the facility has licence on. Given the facility footprint is 12 hectares there’s great room to expand. “We’ve organically grown the business in recent years and we’re about to take another big step,” says Paul. Habits formed, explicitly when applied to the bettering of operational integrity of a business, soon become infectious. This will, more than likely, impress upon resources the need for new trucks. As so happens, Purearth have taken delivery of a new generation MAN TGS.2654 rigid tipper. It pulls a four-axle dog trailer — another milestone for the business as it is the rst MAN TGS NN day cab delivered into this application. The unit runs at 56

stage engine valve brake. In such qualities lies the reason Purearth invested in the new prime mover.

“The modernised 12-speed automated manual transmission is more ef cient,” says Paul. “It’s a pleasure to drive. Of course, setting it up on the road has been fun.”

The MAN TipMatic 12-speed AMT is highly advanced. Intelligent software calculates the optimum gearshift speed using data such as the accelerator position, the vehicle mass and the calculated driving resistance. On inclines, momentum of the vehicle is maintained by fast downshifts to keep fuel consumption as low as possible. In the Perth metropolitan area, where the

Paul Curtis, Purearth Co-Founder.

MAN TGS plies its trade, the driver can manoeuvre the truck precisely or easily go with the slow-moving traf c ow thanks to idle speed enhancements. After moving off, the vehicle travels at a low idling speed of around 600rpm, without the driver having to press the accelerator. If the engine torque is insuf cient at idling speed, the MAN TipMatic will shift down. The truck is tted with eight-bag ECAS suspension, and hypoid diffs with power divider and cross lock.

“The driver commented that he’s not tired at the end of the day,” says Paul. “He’s got good energy.”

The MAN TGS comes in 2.5 tonnes lighter across the entire unit than the bonneted truck it replaces.

Notwithstanding the additional payload it frees up, there’s now an extra 5 cubic metres volume capacity as well.

“It’s paying for itself on that alone in the savings of payload and extra volume we

can get in it,” says Paul. “The truck and trailer can hold about 45m3, so we get really good return there as well.”

The body was built by Michael Vinci of Vintrans Motor Body Building and Transport Engineering. The two companies share a prevailing partnership over many years.

“Michael has done work for us over a long period of time,” says Paul. “He’s excelled at this one. The body on the unit is outstanding.”

Coming under 19-metres in length the entire unit can travel just about anywhere. Paul is pleased with how they have maximised their volumes and the inherent versatility of the truck and dog. “Our preference was to go to cabover again in that application for versatility in the landscape yards that we have to supply to,” he says. “Turning circle and manoeuvrability are crucial to the daily activities of our bulk trucks.”

The MAN TGS attends all 15 of the landscaping supply sites in the Purearth network. Paul anticipates the new truck will cover up to 90,000 kilometres in a year.

“The kilometres aren’t huge but it’s enough,” says Paul. “We keep it pretty busy. It’s booked out all the time.”

The 2016 MAN pulls a walking oor triaxle trailer. It’s got a capacity of 100m3.

That unit carts bulk mulch products for Purearth’s use and also for its customers who will have noted the formidable growth of their supplier.

The roll out of FOGO in Western Australia is putting additional pressures on the organic industry. This has resulted in the landscaping industry seeing the immediate ow on effects from commercial scale composting according to Paul.

“The primary driver behind FOGO is the Federal Government as it pushes to reduce land lls,” he says. “There’s processors like ourselves and others who will eventually do more of it given the current focus and that will ow on back into the domestic and rural markets.”

That certainly makes new, technologically sophisticated prime movers like the MAN TGS comprehensible as a medium-term investment in a company whose horizons seemingly keep stretching.

“The industry is still growing and we’re growing within it,” says Paul.

Easy access to the radiator for administering coolant under the new grille.
The tipper bins are manufacturered by Vintrans Motor Body Building and Transport Engineering.



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Detroit is taking e ciency and performance to the next level.

Detroit is an iconic brand with a strong heritage in many countries, and through its latest developments the engine and transmission manufacturer continues to be a leader in performance and fuel ef ciency while meeting increasingly stringent emission regulations.

Owned by Daimler since 2000 and distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Penske since 2014, Detroit Diesel provides the engine, and often the transmission, for iconic brands Freightliner and Western Star.

The latest Western Star X-Series 47X and 48X models are equipped with the DD13 Gen 5 engines delivering 450-525hp and 1,550-1,850 lb-ft of torque. The swirl design of the 13-litre engine’s pistons contributes to better combustion, and the recently developed turbocharger ensures quick engine response. The DD16, the most powerful engine ever built by Detroit, is available in the Western Star 48X and 49X models as well as the Freightliner Cascadia 126. The DD16 can be rated up to 600hp and 2,050 lb-ft of torque. The DD16’s turbocompounding design recovers heat energy from the exhaust and converts it into usable power without impacting fuel economy. In fact, the system can add up to 50hp back to

the crankshaft. Detroit’s reputation for reliability is con rmed by the results compiled by the Detroit Connect vehicle data management system.

“Reliability wise, we are just not seeing major problems in any number at all,” says Bob Gowans, Business Manager – Detroit at Penske Australia. “We have seen more visibility on those minor things that do pop up, and a faster response is possible because the Detroit Connect system means that the operator knows about it as soon as it happens, not just when the driver gets back to their depot, and getting the right assistance is much quicker.”

Bob explains that historically, these are not necessarily journey stopping faults, but have the potential to become irritating and can ultimately develop into something more major if not properly addressed.

“Customer feedback on the Western Star X-Series in commercial operation is a key factor at the moment,” says Bob. “In Australia, we’ve now had more than 12 months of trucks on the road with real people, not just demonstrators. They’ve invested in it, it’s their fuel and their loads they have to carry and it’s their customers they have to answer to. We just don’t seem to have a major service issue, a major reliability issue or a customer complaint issue.”

To date, the universal response from operators has been signi cant improvements in fuel ef ciency.

“B-double operators are seeing between six and ten per cent improvement over the rest of their eet, and six to seven per cent improvement over the previous model DD15 Western Star Constellations,” says Bob. “It seems the heavier the loads, the greater the improvement in fuel ef ciency, with roadtrain combinations reporting up to 11 per cent in fuel savings. These stats are from people with six gure mileage on their trucks and we’ve also seen everything which was promised in relation to AdBlue usage with customers reporting just 3.4 to 3.8 per cent on DD16, and under 5 per cent on DD13.”

The low AdBlue requirement also translates to time savings by being able to do the entire typical entire interstate trip without seeking to top up AdBlue of suitable quality along the way.

Every current Detroit Diesel engine is designed to operate on renewable diesel fuel such as HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) without any necessary modi cations which offers a signi cant potential for CO² reduction. This includes the DD15 which has been in Australia for 13 years.

Whatever the fuel, all current Detroit engines are not only already compatible

A new Western Star 48X truck and dog with a Detroit DD16. Image: Penske Australia.


with next year’s ADR 80/04 emissions requirements, but also exceed that, complying with stricter US GHG regulations.

In Western Star X-Series applications, servicing is improved due to the location of many key maintenance components being located above the chassis rail for direct access which results in less service time and improved heat dissipation on the road.

“Our own workshops have obviously got used to working on Detroit diesel-powered trucks over an extended period, and service times are lower because they don’t have to take as much apart. They don’t have to be in such a cramped position to actually get to components such as the lters, and they’re certainly not as messy as other engines,” says Bob. “It’s a predictable and easy service to perform, which means a better quality of service. Customers doing their own servicing they will de nitely appreciate it as well. When their drivers do their start of journey walk around, and when they pull the bonnet over, which on the X-Series is more easily achieved than it used to be, the important components are visible and they’re not having to get their head in and look.”

To be fair to most drivers, Bob says they’re generally mechanically sympathetic and reasonably mechanically minded but they are not, in most cases, expected to be lying


on the ground in the dirt under the truck looking for things in the daily check.

“By putting them at eye line you give people the opportunity to see things a little bit earlier,” he adds.

The power of the latest Detroit engines is complemented by the very impressive engine retardation braking capabilities which have been enhanced with the improved ‘Jake’ engine brake which is integrated into the camshafts rather than being on top of the rocker arms such as in earlier models. This design change provides three stages of engine braking and is much quieter in operation than previous versions. Detroit developed its own DT12 automated manual transmission which has been subjected to more than 35 million

miles (56 million kilometres) of testing and in the Western Star X-Series features ‘rock-free’ and ‘off road’ functions as well as economy and performance modes. Having the same engine and transmission manufacturer assists in providing a seamless integration of the main driveline components which is especially important considering the down-speeding of the engines and the availability of high torque at low engine rpm.

“Customer feedback on the performance of the latest Detroit drivetrain has been exceptional,” says Bob. “We are seeing vehicles in service yielding class-leading fuel ef ciency and driving experience –from single trailer operations all the way to roadtrains.”

Prime Creative Media.
Daily checks and servicing access made easy in latest DD powered Western Star X-Series.


Rum City Foods has ordered a second Euro 5 Hino Hybrid Electric.
The Hino Hybrid-Electric was chosen as a long distance solution.
The van body pre panels and doors.
The smart electrical systems are isolated prior to fabrication.
Paving the way to green solutions, Scully RSV is introducing its rst hybridelectric refrigerated solution – via Hino – to the local market.

Known for its innovative craftmanship, Scully RSV is providing customers a solution to help them transition to lower emission heavy vehicles without having to compromise on performance. The journey to refrigerated hybrid truck-builds began when long-standing customer Rum City Foods asked for a greener transport solution. However, according to Andrew McKenzie, CEO of Scully RSV, fabrication of a hybrid truck isn’t as easily replicated the same as it is on a standard diesel-driven truck.

“They’ve got batteries, they’ve got smart electrical systems, so you must be able to isolate those systems before you can start to weld and apply electric current to those vehicles,” he says. “So, it’s important that we’re aware of those circumstances and those situations. Our experience and our investment in our engineering resource allows us to capitalise.”

As well as having 30 years manufacturing experience, several factors contribute to the businesses success in building such models. Live feedback from trucks already in their eet, according to Andrew, plays a vital role in the developmental process.

“We’ve got that in depth experience of having 400 trucks in our rental eet,” he says. “Every single day, we’re getting live feedback on how they operate, how they work, what potential failure modes exist within the products. We develop the product off the back of

that. That’s how we do it.”

The bene ts for Rum City Foods are twofold as Andrew describes the impact this will have not only for Scott McIntyre, Rum City Foods Sales Manager, but also for the business. “He gets to start to learn, develop and understand a little bit more about what operating electric trucks looks like in his eet but still has the ability and assurance that, at the end of the day, he’s got the diesel engine that he can get home if there is a particular issue,” Andrew says. “He runs long distances in North Queensland, and so full electric doesn’t yet work for him, so the hybrid solution is perfect.”

In fact, Rum City Foods was so impressed with the initial build it ordered a second Hino Hybrid-Electric refrigerated body manufactured by Scully before the rst one was delivered. Focused on bringing the project to fruition, Andrew emphasises how it is a collaborative effort between Scully RSV and Hino trucks. With the fabricating process in full swing, they expect to deliver the complete truck body within two weeks.

“We’re quite literally working through with the engineering team at Hino down in Sydney in terms of the fabrication process associated with it at the moment,” he says. “All the panel kits, doors, sliders, and steps are all sorted out. The parts are ordered, so we’re in the manufacturing phase now. Within the next two weeks, that will be popping out the other side of the factory.”

Beyond manufacturing, Andrew also highlights the process that goes into producing and crafting such vehicles and how a dual thinking approach is essential to good product development. “From a product available perspective, there’s really two schools,” he says. “There’s real world and then there’s theory. And so, you really need to take both approaches.”

Working with Queensland University of Technology and their customers, Andrew explains how the company

adopts best practices.

“We still collaborate with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and utilise best practice, what’s new technology, what’s new thinking — trying to really get and tap into fresh minds and fresh ideas around best practices not just from a product perspective but from a manufacturing and systems perspective,” he says.

For Scully RSV, growth is now on the agenda, moving into a new 12,000m² facility in Brisbane late last year, Andrew reveals the company’s ambition towards building to record volumes.

“Today, we’re building at near record volumes and that will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months as we push towards building 60 a month,” he says. “That’s ultimately the goal, and that’s the scale and the capacity of this factory here in Brisbane. Then we’ve got some options that are at play in some other regions.”

Since moving in six months ago, Scully RSV has gone through a number of iterations in terms of factory layout to optimise their processes.

“We’ve now reached a point where we’re comfortable and happy with our factory layout and its ability to consistently and reliably allow us to produce to timebound production slots.” says Andrew.

“It’s unlocked the ef ciency in our build and manufacture of the product.”

With no intention to slow down, the company remains focused on their customers and how the introduction of the Hino Hybrid-Electric trucks will ultimately help them on their journey to sustainable solutions.

“They will be available to our customers who want to start to dip their toe into the water in terms of what it means to genuinely take that step into the next phase of clean emissions vehicles,” he says. “It’s exciting. We don’t want to hype it up and then under deliver, we’re more about actions and outcomes as an organisation. So, those vehicles will make their way into our eet, and they will form a part of what we do as a good corporate citizen.”


Female truck driver and social media star, Casuarina Smith, is advocating for better road safety, diversity and an uptake in younger drivers now with the help of automotive lighting specialist, HELLA Australia.

Known as ‘Trucking With CJ’ online through her social media platforms, Casuarina Smith was always destined to drive heavy vehicles. But, although she had a warm introduction to the transport industry from a young age thanks to her father, a farmer turned truck driver, she didn’t nd her feet in transport straight away.

Prior to joining the industry, Casuarina was an insurance broker for seven years. Yet a desire to escape the nine-to- ve of ce lifestyle coupled with her love

for trucks, which was developed during her upbringing, saw Casuarina give her corporate career up to join her sister in driving them.

“I just wanted to get out of an of ce,” she says. “I used to work right on the Brisbane River, and from my window I’d watch all the trucks driving down the road. I would be like, ‘Man that must be so nice. They’re out in the nice weather and I’m stuck in this of ce with only a half-an-hour break.’”

That was when her sister had rst started driving. Casuarina would call her on the

Images: HELLA Australia.
Casuarina Smith.

phone and learn of what she was up to and the interesting place she was at or on her way to.

“I was just so envious of the freedom that she got,” recalls Casuarina. “I wanted a work environment where I could get out to different places and be more hands on in my day-to-day work.”

Casuarina had already gotten her heavy rigid truck license many years before, so she was able to get straight into the job. She started by driving concrete mixers, and after a stint living overseas, she came back home and moved on to roadtrains.

From there, Casuarina started creating videos about what her life as a truck driver was like. And, as more people discovered her content, her channels continued to grow. ‘Trucking With CJ’ now has a following of more than 74,000 people on Instagram and over 25,000 people on TikTok who watch Casuarina’s life as a y-in- y-out truck

driver for Merkanooka Haulage in Western Australia.

In its own effort to reach the next generation of truck drivers, HELLA Australia made the decision to collaborate with Casuarina and bring her on board as a brand ambassador. When the team came across ‘Trucking With CJ’, it was evident that Casuarina was exactly what they were looking for — someone who saw the value and took the time to educate not only her viewers but herself on the various aspects of truck driving and the importance safety plays on the roads. In addition, HELLA Australia noticed that she was a great role model for people to look up to, in particular younger girls, to see that anything is possible.

As a brand focused on quality, education and delivering more than just a product to the market, Senior Marketing Specialist, Priska Zihlmann, says HELLA

Australia is driving technology in an industry that, behind the scenes, is keeping Australia moving safely.

“Seeing the next generation connecting with Casuarina’s journey and the passion shared for a genuinely amazing industry, supporting Casuarina with her educational content and reaching the next generation of professional drivers was a simple decision,” she says. “Casuarina’s attitude towards the industry and her approach in educating people with everything she’s talked about resonates exactly with how HELLA approaches things. We’re all about the quality and reliability of our products, services and operations, and with truly dedicated people, we want to enhance safety for all road users. I think we both aligned really well in that sense.”

Beyond equipping vehicles with the right tools and technologies to enhance safety, HELLA Australia also understands

Casuarina in Western Australia working for Merkanooka Haulage.

the importance of fostering a culture of safety among drivers.

While Casuarina’s content typically involves general tips, tricks and lessons that she has learnt along the way, it has a strong focus on safety. That being said, Casuarina is making the most out of her position and is using her platforms to encourage all road users to take extra care when sharing the road with heavy vehicles.

“I try and do videos of what I can see from my point of view, because some of my followers don’t actually drive trucks and don’t ever intend on driving trucks, but they are learning,” she says. “I get quite a lot of messages from people that will say things like, ‘I had no idea what a blind spot was’, or ‘Now I know not to do this’. I had one person who told me that he sat down with his whole family the night before and watched my videos, and that they now know what to look out for when driving around heavy vehicles. Having those interactions and feedback means the world to me.”

As part of this, Casuarina has been very committed to bridging the gap between everyday road users and truck drivers. “I want to show the general public the

fear that comes from a truck driver,” she says. “None of us want to scare a car, none of us want to hit anyone and no one wants to be involved in an accident. By highlighting these risks from the point of view of a truck driver, I hope we can increase awareness. People just don’t know what they don’t know, so I’m hoping that if we can educate and connect with people maybe it will be a bit safer out there. We just need to make people more aware of the elements of safety out on the roads.”

In one of her recent posts, Casuarina asked truck drivers to share what they wished for the general public to know. She received responses about braking distances, blind spots and dangerous instances such as drivers speeding up to get around trucks and then braking in front of them.

Through her videos, Casuarina is also working on shifting the misconception that a truck driver is not a viable career option.

“I think it’s just about raising the awareness, and the bene t of social media is that we can come together as people to try and gure out what the messaging is for that and spread it to a

wider audience,” she says. “I remember in high school teachers would tell us, ‘You better study, otherwise what are you going to be, a truck driver?’ as if it’s a last resort. People shouldn’t be giving it that reputation. Without trucks, Australia stops. Everything you get has been delivered at some stage by a truck or the transport industry, so why are we trying to make it out as if it’s a dirty industry?

It doesn’t need to be that way.”

As part of the collaboration with HELLA Australia, the team is supporting Casuarina in an upcoming journey across Australia. Her favourite truck, a Kenworth T909 dubbed ‘The Moth’, will be tted with a range of lighting products from HELLA.

“In our meetings, we’ve been talking about the different types of lights I could use and how we can decorate the truck to align with the colour scheme,” Casuarina says. “It’s been great to go back and forth with their product managers to learn about the different lighting options and decide on what lights will work best for me, and how they will maximise my visibility while still looking great. I could say, for example, ‘That one to me is too circular. How about we do this?’ and they said, ‘Okay, well if it’s that important to you, we can put this on here.’ It was just great to be able to have those discussions with them and develop my knowledge at the same time.”

To be endorsed by such a large and wellrecognised brand like HELLA Australia, Casuarina says, is very humbling.

“I had this passion for the project in my head, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received,” she says.

“I’m a big dreamer and I want to bring my vision to life, so to be approached by HELLA Australia and to be recognised for all the hard work behind the scenes means a lot.

“I’m so stoked this has resonated with HELLA Australia and that they have seen the value in my work. There’s so much more to share and I can’t wait to get going.”

HELLA Australia has partnered with Casuarina who is now a brand ambassador.
The latest eCanter is the second generation of Fuso’s o ering to the electric truck market.

The original Fuso eCanter was introduced globally in 2017 and in 2021 became the rst production electric truck to be offered to the Australian market.

Now the second generation eCanter has an expanded range and has its of cial Australian release during May, with a full model line-up consisting of 14 variants with four different weight ratings, six wheelbases, three battery con gurations, as well as the option of a City Cab or Wide Cab versions. The optional electric Power Take Off (PTO) further expands the eCanter’s possibilities catering for applications such as fridge bodies, tilt trays, mini mixers and tippers.

Prime Mover experienced the European examples of the second generation eCanters at the factory in Portugal back in 2022, and some examples were on display at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show. The next generation eCanters destined

for Australian delivery are manufactured in Kawasaki, Japan.

The most signi cant difference between the two eCanter generations is the development and implementation of the eAxle, with the electric motor and invertor now incorporated into the rear axle, dispensing with the driveshaft set-up used in the rst generation.

Compared with the original format, this eAxle con guration is more ef cient and saves weight, and therefore energy consumption, and also provides additional room for the location of the batteries. The liquid cooled electric motor drives through a single speed reduction gearbox and delivers 110kW of power and an impressive 430Nm of torque.

The two examples of this next generation eCanter we are provided for a pre-release drive around the inner suburbs of Melbourne, have GVMs

of 6,000kgs — meaning a light rigid licence is the minimum requirement for drivers. The Wide Cab (2,130mm) and City Cab (1,700mm) e615 eCanters both have 3400mm wheelbases and are loaded to gross weights totalling 5,160kgs and 5,480kgs respectively, of which approximately 2.5 tonnes can be considered payload. Despite that weight both trucks demonstrate carlike handling and stability due to their double wishbone independent front suspension and electro-hydraulic rack and pinion steering, combined with a low centre of gravity.

Both test units are tted with two lithium-ion phosphate battery packs with 83kWh combined capacity. The modular concept of the batteries lends itself to eCanters also being available with single or even three batteries. During our test the City cab covered 64.4 kilometres with the information screen

Images: Daimler Truck.

showing enough energy remaining to cover another 138 kilometres.

The Wide cab version travelled 57.8 kilometres with 159 kms remaining.

Simple arithmetic demonstrates that the suggested 200-kilometre range in this

two-battery con guration is inherently both conservative and achievable. The batteries are thermally controlled using a liquid system which keeps them at their most ef cient temperature. The batteries are covered by an eight-year

warranty and Fuso can provide “end of life” management of used batteries as part of a package. Factory battery testing has included water immersion and water jet blasting to ensure the batteries can stand up to real world situations.

Light duty electric trucks such as the eCanter don’t require massive upgrades to the electricity charging network which makes the transition from internal combustion power easier. Both AC and DC charging are provided for, with recharging in just one hour possible with a 100kW DC charger. For customers hesitant to invest in a DC charging station the new eCanter can be charged with common AC power and plugging into a conventional three phase AC power connection will achieve the same result in 4.9 hours.

An important factor in driving an EV such as the eCanter is the conscious effort to maximise battery charge and brake component life by implementing regenerative braking. The new eCanter

The Fuso eCanter Wide cab comes with a class-leading active safety package.
The electric motor and invertor are now incorporated into the rear axle.

has moved away from the more common control wand attached to the steering column usually associated with engine and exhaust braking. Instead, the eCanter makes use of what would be the gear lever in an ICE vehicle. In addition to selecting forward or reverse directions, the lever also activates the regenerative braking function which has three levels of retardation and operates in a fashion similar to changing down a manual gearbox. The driveline is tted with a parking pawl similar to what is found in passenger car automatic transmissions and works in conjunction with the electronic parking brake.

Fuso suggest that the regenerative braking selector be left in the ‘off’ position unless the braking function is actually required. This will allow the truck to ‘coast’ with just the slightest

level of retardation when the accelerator is not depressed.

LED daytime running lights and taillights support the LED headlights which are 30 per cent brighter than halogen alternatives yet draw less power. The cab interiors have received a freshen up with quality fabrics and, noted for its “not so squeezy” cab, the Wide Cab version has an Isri suspension driver’s seat. The highlight of the dash is the full colour LCD screen with gauges showing real-time battery charge levels and coolant temperature. The instrument screen is complemented by a 10-inch touchscreen which controls the audio and navigation systems and includes wireless connection for Apple CarPlay. Most audio and phone functions can also be managed using controls mounted on the steering wheel. The new

generation eCanter comes with a classleading active safety package including, as standard, Advanced Brake Assist 5 with pedestrian detection using radar and camera technology. In addition to the Advanced Emergency Braking System, the eCanter has Active Side Guard Assist to detect and, if required, brake for cyclists, pedestrians and cars when the truck is negotiating a left turn. Other safety features include Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning System, Hill Start Assist and crash sensors which shut off the high voltage system in the event of an accident using a similar system as the other EVs in the Daimler stable including the eActros and the eEconic.

In deference to the eCanter’s almost silent operation, the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System complies with the current European regulations, which is also standard and operates at speeds up to 20km/hr. The system operates by creating an audible warning for pedestrians in the vicinity of the truck and provides the driver with audible and visual warnings and, in similarity with the Active Side Guard Assist, can also autonomously brake the eCanter to a complete stop if the driver does not respond to the initial alerts.

The Daimler Truck group, of which Fuso is an important member, is clear that it doesn’t rush bringing vehicles to market which subsequently require further developments once they are in the hands of customers. The broad portfolio of eCanter EVs includes various nance packages including straight sales, and Fuso dealers will provide assistance in the decision process when the viability of EVs is assessed for a customer’s particular application including determining the most suitable recharging equipment and management. The pioneering eCanter was the rst ever series production electric truck to be introduced in Australia and the eCanter Next Gen delivers even more advanced technology which sets new standards in the light duty electric truck.

The second-gen Fuso eCanter on-road.


Leading trailer builder, Schmitz Cargobull, is launching its own proprietary telematics system in Australia.

Next year the global refrigerated transport market is projected to pass $32 billion. That gure arrives after a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 per cent over the six preceding years starting in 2019. In Australia, nearly 90 per cent of the nation’s produce is transported by a cold carrier using refrigerated assets. It’s not just food either. The pharmaceutical, intermodal,

and security-relevant freight markets are all trending upwards. Telematics uptake continues to increase in importance right across the road transport industry and, given the onus on time critical, temperature sensitive perishables, is a particular growth area in the refrigerated transport sector where compliance means that visibility is vital across the many links of the cold chain. Trailer builder Schmitz Cargobull has

entered this domain with TrailerConnect, an industry leading telematics solution that makes it possible to feed the latest data from working trailers to a portal where the information is centralised for immediate use. Schmitz Cargobull have been tting TrailerConnect telematics to its trailers since 2009. The product, more recently launched in Australia, promises real-time customer facing analytics of trailers and freight from a

Image: Schmitz Cargobull.
TrailerConnect networks highly integrated sensors on refrigerated trailers.

single gateway for maximum system availability and data security. Its function is to network highly integrated sensors and actuators in the trailer from a single source and in doing so will reduce the reliance on redundant sensors or energy management systems. An intelligent sensor network is used for monitoring trailers and cargo and is compatible with all common third-party transport refrigeration units (TRUs). At present there are 135 of these live units running across the Australian network.

TrailerConnect from Schmitz Cargobull comes in two hardware guises — entry level and pro. The entry level version will connect with any trailer type that is equipped with an EBS system. The pro-option is expressly compatible with temperature-controlled refrigerated trailers. In addition to improving driving behaviour and the safety of the vehicle and other road users, the correct tyre pressure makes a decisive contribution to extending the service life of the tyres.

In Europe Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems have become a mandatory requirement this July.

“Tyre pressure and temperature monitoring for up to 16 tyres per telematics unit allows the customer to be informed, as soon as there are any alarming pressures or temperatures,” says Jan Fiedler, Schmitz Cargobull Telematics Business Manager. “The sensors mounted to the rim of each tyre, updates the values every ve seconds.”

The pro version also monitors the temperatures inside the box with independent temperature sensors equipped in every smart trailer as standard. A coupling sensor, in combination with a truck detection device, shows which truck is hooked up to which trailer.

Should a temperature reading fall out of its desirable parameters, the cause can, in many instances, be determined without delay.

Drivers on the frontline can receive timely warning of malfunctions and impending breakdowns to avoid them

and mitigate against damage or delay of valuable freight. This is where the BeSmart app is particularly useful. It connects via Wi-Fi and provides vehicle status updates to the driver on crucial vehicle and fridge data. Reports can be downloaded 24/7 and automatically exported if wanted. For greater integration, the system can display data into third party telematics portals, so the customer isn’t overwhelmed by having too many systems to draw crucial data from.

“All necessary truck or trailer data can be imported on TrailerConnect,” says Luke Hardeman, Schmitz Cargobull National Sales and Marketing Manager. “The enduser will enjoy the exibility of having all the data streams integrated into one easy to use program without having to retro t anything.”

The TrailerConnect portal offers a status overview of individual units in the eet. By clicking on the icons for ignition, motion sensor, coupling status, door open/closed, fridge on/off, status of all axles, faults and alarms, the relevant information pertaining to each can be ascertained in real-time.

“The motion sensors con rm speed and weight, temperature recorder and data of cooling units,” says Luke. “That makes it an end-to-end solution for the customer who demands safe-temperature management, optimised CO2 emissions, greater trailer uptime, improved transport security and technology that is future proofed.”

As eets rely on boosting those granular percentiles of ef ciency across the entire cold chain, a telematics offering such as TrailerConnect, which can avoid downtime through the accurate monitoring and conservation of thermal energy by ensuring doors are locked and trailers are sealed correctly, will ultimately support whether eet management is effective and what needs to happen in order to make sure that it is. In short, it’s a whole trailer solution. On a macro level, TrailerConnect offers transport and logistics businesses

expansive and ongoing insights across the many legs of the cold chain cycle from initial dispatch and transportation, to unloading, reloading and various points of delivery. Fleet management, with this kind of access to information, can, through the recapitulation of weekly datasets, con rm the progress a business is making in safety, compliance, and productivity.

EBS data provides a live read on the aggregate load, mileage, speed, 24N counter, ABS counter, RSS counter, with a warning lamp.

The Pro version offers FleetWatch which provides fridge monitoring and predictive maintenance.

The advantages for dispatchers are immediately observable.

“By increasing trailer availability through timely information on the status and wear of the technical units, breakdowns can be avoided, and inevitable service stops shortened,” says Luke. With all the information they need at a glance, dispatchers can ef ciently plan routes via a more transparent process such as route monitoring vehicles including those of current subcontractors. This is also empowering so that reactions, when needed, can be made immediately allowing for corrections to be made. Fleet managers, meanwhile, can make informed decisions when optimising the mobile assets in the network through the wide availability of digital documentation. Having real-time data on the condition and performance of the trailers is necessary especially when it comes to analysing historical trailer data to determine and plan maintenance stops to optimise the availability of vehicles next week or even next quarter.

“Schmitz Cargobull offers a solution for the whole transport industry, for every trailer,” says Jan. “The data will always belong to the customer and the customer decides who is allowed to see which dataset of their individual assets. One app for the driver and another one for the dispatcher or eet manager for total transparency, if wanted.”

Recognising the ever-growing challenges that the transport industry faces, Geotab has released the second edition of its State of Commercial Transport Report.

From reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to delving into the use of AI and predictive analytics, the report outlines data rich insights that can be gained through telematics.

David Brown, Associate Vice President of Geotab Asia Paci c, advises on how retailers and operators, within the industry, can leverage these ndings to minimise the impact of these obstacles all while creating a more robust pipeline.

“Most of the challenges facing the industry is cost related,” he says.

“Businesses are looking at how to reduce CO2 emissions, while also lowering maintenance costs at the same time. It all adds up to trying to save money.

“Therefore, the focus is looking at how to leverage technology and bring it into businesses while aiming to reduce costs over a certain amount of time.”

With a growing emphasis on reducing fuel consumption, David also discusses how the use of telematics can provide operators with the necessary insights in identifying key waste areas.

“With the Geotab solution you can pull information directly from the

vehicle’s computer. It will give you RPM, fuel ef ciency and can also monitor driver behaviour.”

Analysing driver behaviour is another pivotal factor for operators to consider.

“Data provided by the solution can reveal how the driver is performing overall,” says David. “Are they driving in the correct manner? Do they need corrected driving? Are they harsh braking, going too fast or accelerating?

“All these things add to wear and tear on a vehicle and from just monitoring driver behaviour you can potentially save a lot in terms of fuel.”

Geotab predicts that the demand for quality data to fuel AI models will intensify as it acts as a ‘back pocket data scientist’, enabling operators to interpret the insights telematics systems provide.

“We interpret data through AI which makes it easy, and you don’t need a data scientist for that,” says David.

“The system can access data very quickly, formulate answers and provide information, eliminating any manual input.

“AI will be the route that everybody will look to go down. It’s something that is

relatively new to the industry, so trying to open people’s eyes to the technology and the power of AI is a hurdle.

“Once people understand that this is the way forward more doors in the industry will continue to open.”

With new legislation by the federal government coming into play from July, enforcing mandatory climate reporting, the company looks toward the use of generative AI in assisting businesses in reaching sustainability goals without having to make a full transition to electric.

“You need technology to measure your CO2 emissions,” says David. “The data our telematics systems provides showcases many ways at which businesses can reduce carbon emissions without having to move to electric.”

Even though latest gures, detailed in the report, demonstrate year on year growth in EV adoption, David says infrastructure and cost will delay the trucking industry in fully making the transition.

“From a trucking perspective, we are a fair bit away from transitioning to electric trucks, for long haul anyway.”

“Fleet managers are pioneers in their

David Brown, Geotab Associate Vice President.


industry, but this is new territory, and no one has done this before. They will need these insights to know are they making the right decisions, by moving one vehicle out and another one in and what is most cost effective in doing so. Again, the technology is needed here to give such insights.”

In helping the transition which, according to David, will inevitably come in the next four to ve years, Geotab has already started to prepare the data that offers solutions.

“When this transition does come about the key will be to know what vehicles in your eet you need to swap over rst, and the only way you can do that is through telematics,” David says.

“We already have electric vehicles in our database with prices and operating costs. All this information that we gathered is from the OEM so all the existing information from the existing eet.

“This means that at the click of a button you are able to tell what vehicles you should swap out and which vehicles you should bring, which will serve as valuable information as eets begin to make necessary transitions.”

With the cost of new and used vehicles on the rise and the availability of replacement vehicles limited, eet managers are also having to operate

older, high-mileage vehicles, posing another challenge to the industry.

According to David, this is where predictive analytics will play a key role.

“We will see the impact of ageing eets more and more on the industry. This is because people are not ready to move to combustion vehicles and they are using older ones while also trying to make them sustainable.

“Maintenance here is extremely important. Our system can connect to any onboard computer which means, that even in old vehicles, you can predict when something is going to go wrong.

Things like batteries which can generally runout in two or three years.

“Knowing these things in advance is a huge bene t as eets can then prepare to have another truck in operation, minimising downtime.”

Focusing primarily on providing eet management solutions, Geotab also highlights the transformative power of connected data and how this can assist companies in making quick and effective decisions.

“For a transport company the main thing is how do I make quick decisions based on the data provided, how do I understand what this means and how does this impact my business. Essentially, does it allow me to make intelligent and

decisions to save money,” says David.

“A complex and innovative ecosystem is key to any good telematics framework and gives operators the ability to manage relationships between provider, producer and driver ef ciently and effectively.

“Transferring data in an easy to use and ef cient way rather than having two or three systems is key.

“Our telematics systems house it all in one, providing an open platform which allows operators to connect their transport management system with our solution. It is important to have the exibility to do this making it easy for operators.”

As a critical period for the industry lies ahead, trusted and intelligent use of data can help pave the way to reliable and forward-thinking solutions.

Emphasising the pivotal role that data and AI will play in driving performance, ef ciency, pro tability, and sustainability, David says telematics will continue to grow and the use of AI will become increasingly important especially when it comes to reducing cost for eet operators.

“Geotab is solution focused and amid complex challenges, will continue its commitment to the sector in providing trusted insights and empowering businesses.”

Geotab GO9 fleet vehicle tracking device.


Teletrac Navman has launched an electric vehicle (EV) transition platform that utilises telematics data and predictive analytics.

Connected mobility solutions provider Teletrac Navman has just recently revealed some major updates to its alternative energy product portfolio that will enable eets to strategically plan, implement, and track the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) to multi-fuel capabilities. EVE (Electric Vehicle Evaluator) by Teletrac Navman

is an electric vehicle (EV) transition platform that utilises telematics data and predictive analytics to build a plan that supports a eet’s decarbonisation goals. To support informed strategic capex planning and expenditure conversations, EVE provides intelligence for transition planning in three key areas: Feasibility Planning, Financial Planning, and Infrastructure Design.

The Feasibility Planning tool helps to identify the vehicles suitable for transition to electric based on trip and cargo data and the optimum battery and charger types to use. The Financial Planning element provides a detailed cost analysis of the total cost ownership (TCO) between EV and ICE vehicles, indicating which ones would be more cost effective to transition.

EVE’s Infrastructure Design tool models the most ef cient charging infrastructure to support and sustain a transition plan. It also has the capability to factor in weather conditions, different charger powers, site charge fuse limits and varying base load; enabling eets to build a custom infrastructure that will keep their businesses moving.

“Fleets all over the globe are facing pressures to change to low carbon energy types in an ef cient and cost-effective way, without disrupting business operations – it can be overwhelming,” says Mayank Sharma, Head of Global Product Management & UX at Teletrac Navman. “We have designed EVE to help eet managers navigate the journey to alternative energy by simplifying what can be a very complex process.”

The launch of EVE is complemented by

Mayank Sharma, Teletrac Navman Head of Global Product Management.
Images: Teletrac Navman.


Teletrac Navman’s new Sustainability Dashboard which enables eet managers to monitor progress against their decarbonisation targets once their energy transition has commenced. The Sustainability Dashboard gives eets a score out of 100 so eet managers can see progress at a glance and simplify internal and external company reporting on their targets, and in particular their emissions. Not only

does it provide a snapshot of savings in fuel costs it also feeds in data from individual vehicles to help identify areas of improvement in driver performance that can impact emissions. What’s more, the business’ AI-powered TN360 eet management platform will become the single pane of glass from which to access the Sustainability Dashboard, as well as integrations with multiple business units, streamlining eet

Feasibility numbers for EV transition plan.

operations further.

“Our recent TS24 telematics survey found eets need trustworthy support when it comes to decarbonisation,” says Mayank.

“Our experts are always available to guide eets through their transition, and to also ensure they’re making the most of the solutions they’ve employed, through ongoing support, tailored guidance and data reviews.”


In her role at the family business JATEC Transport, Caitlin Barlow has achieved a reputation for talking up opportunities in the transport industry.

Caitlin Barlow attended university while working full time at supply chain specialists including Bevchain and Metcash, and achieved a Distinction when she graduated with her Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Entrepreneurship.

Prime Mover: The industry is continuously grappling with a shortage of good people. Should it be looking beyond the traditional areas to recruit staff?

Caitlin Barlow: Recent statistics show only ve per cent of Australian truck drivers are female, so I think there is a massive market which we are missing in women drivers. Also, if we broaden our horizons, and look at multi-cultural drivers as another option I think we will de nitely be able to bridge the gap in the driver shortage. Certainly, it will take some time to train up and develop the drivers, but it will de nitely be a big part of the answer.

PM: You’ve done a lot of work to promote the industry in schools, is that aimed at making truck driving more of an aspirational choice of career?

wheel who even think about driving as a career choice. But once we get to speaking to them and highlighting the bene ts lots of them are nally opening their eyes and they realise truck driving is a great career choice.

PM: Do you feel the career path is not clear enough?

CB: It could be because it’s not currently considered to be a trade but there is work being put into establishing a TAFE course

can be out on the road earning money. For those looking at applying for a MR licence, a program such as a TAFE course can teach them about industry factors such as chain of responsibility, axle weight distribution, and understanding different vehicles and trailers. Transport is such a vast industry getting across that sort of knowledge would be a good opportunity and a great way to ultimately get the younger people into driving roles.

CB: The current driver workforce is ageing which shows we are not getting enough young people coming through. The work I do in schools is to advocate for the road transport industry as a whole, and often the feedback from the students is that they have never even considered being a truck driver. It’s only the young people who have a dad or an uncle who are behind the

which will result in driver accreditation. One of my selling points for driving as a career is they could earn really good money and the barrier to entry is relatively low. The main criteria are to get their licence which isn’t that easy a feat in itself, and then they’re out on road training up. Compared to a four-year TAFE diploma or four-to-six-year university degree they

PM: You are very active in the activities of Transport Women of Australia and you were a 2023 Teletrac Navman Driving Change Diversity Champion. What has that meant for you?

CB: I was initially able to attend a two-day seminar to collaborate with different people in the industry who have the same passion around diversity and are making change and who are actively going out to advocate for inclusivity. That was great and now it also means that if people want to have those conversations around diversity, they can come to me or any of the other people in our cohort. By championing diversity and inclusion, I try to make sure everything I do fosters an inclusive environment at JATEC Transport and the expectations of our business partners are also aligned.

PM: Why are women underrepresented in the industry?

CB: Even for us at JATEC it’s been a

Image: Prime Creative Media.
Caitlin Barlow with father Troy Barlow.

challenge to improve our own gender diversity. I put that down again to the fact that out of all Australian truck drivers only about ve per cent are women. If you ask females why more of them aren’t truck drivers, the overwhelming majority will say they have never considered a career in truck driving. That’s not necessarily the case abroad and we need to keep pushing for gender diversity in driving roles.

PM: You’re an advocate of strong community links. Which charities does JATEC support?

CB: We support Movember every second year and it’s been great having the moustaches on the trucks and all our drivers growing their ‘mo’. We love supporting Movember because it’s all about men’s health. Trucking is a very male dominated industry and mental health is an important thing we have agged in our own organisation. During the alternate years we’re doing fund raisers for the Kids with Cancer Foundation. We’ve been supporting the Foundation for quite a while including stickers on the doors of trucks to raise awareness and this year, we’ll be doing a fundraising golf day in August, which is exciting.

PM: Can you reference your anecdote from last Easter?

CB: I’ve got to out myself here because it’s important to recognise the difference between inclusion and diversity. I arranged a pre-Easter long weekend barbecue and I handed chocolate Easter bunnies to all of the drivers as they returned to the depot, but I didn’t realise that six of the drivers were in the middle of Ramadan so not only after driving all day and fasting all day, they had to come back to site with a delicious smelling barbecue happening, and also handed a chocolate bunny. That’s not very inclusive whatsoever. However, no one had anything negative to say, but that’s de nitely a mistake I’m not going to make again. It’s important to acknowledge other peoples’ cultures and make a conscious effort to have that front of mind when you’re organising things in a leadership

position. If I had adjusted the dates, there was a higher chance that my drivers would have felt more that they were part of a team and they belonged. That’s extremely important for not only my employees but also us as employers. But it also highlights about the need to give things a go. You might stuff it up but as long as you’re genuine about giving it a crack then everyone appreciates it.

PM: You were a recent graduate of the Iron Women driver training program introduced by Volvo last year. The origin story of the program you said was inspiring.

CB: I knew it was something I would be proud to look back on in my career. Ten ladies from across Australia were brought to Brisbane to undergo two weeks of theory training with Wodonga TAFE. We worked on our Certi cate III in Driving

Operations, learnt practical tasks like strapping and truck safety inspections, and heard from industry advocates like Heather Jones. The Iron Women were then split into groups and sent to Albury Wodonga for a week to learn how to drive heavy vehicles, and ultimately attain our HR licence.

PM: That sounds like a memorable experience. Would you recommend it?

CB: The program was one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had. The relationships built amongst the cohort, the con dence gained through getting behind the wheel and knowing how to drive, the motivation instilled from industry speakers. Martin Merrick even gave us a pep talk! I am really looking forward to round two later this year where we can reunite and go on to achieve a HC licence.

Caitlin Barlow at the Iron Women driver training program.
Image: Volvo Trucks Australia.
Image: Volvo Trucks Australia.


Nathan Cecil is a partner in the national transport, shipping and logistics group law rm Holding Redlich and played an active role in what has become known as the Vanderstock case.

Based at the Sydney of ces of Holding Redlich, Nathan Cecil specialises in providing commercial and regulatory compliance advice and resolving disputes. Nathan has represented industry on government and industry panels and has been a director since 2017 of TruckSafe, the ATA’s trucking business and risk management system. Nathan became involved on behalf of the ATA in the Vanderstock case in the High Court of Australia.

Historically, the Australian Government

introduced excise on petrol in 1929, which was extended to diesel in 1957 with the intention of recovering the costs of wear on roads caused by heavy vehicles. For several reasons, including the improvements in vehicle fuel ef ciencies, fuel excise collections have been trending downwards in real terms in recent years and with lowand zero-emission vehicles then starting to appear on the horizon, in 2020 the collective state treasurers agreed upon a charge of 2.5 cents per kilometre travelled for all electric vehicles including cars vans and trucks, and 2.0 cents per kilometre

travelled for plug-in hybrid vehicles. This was mainly intended as a mechanism to recover the costs of wear on roads caused by passenger and heavy vehicles. Victoria was the only state to actually impose the charge and Victorian couple Christopher Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies challenged the constitutional validity of the Zero and Low Emission Vehicle Distance-based Charge Act 2021 (Vic) (ZLEV Act) in the High Court of Australia and were joined in the action by a number of parties including the ATA.

Under the Victorian legislation owners of

electric vehicles were required to record the distances travelled, and although the affected vehicles were registered in Victoria, it did not matter where they were driven in Australia, they still had to pay an annual charge based on the total number of kilometres travelled.

In order to be granted representation at the High Court challenge, the ATA rst had to satisfy the Court it had a relevant interest in the issue being fought, and also had to satisfy the court that it was bringing something unique, which the other parties probably weren’t going to raise. Typically, only a minority of such organisations are given the right to participate in a case like this. The High Court accepted that, as the peak national body for the trucking industry, the ATA and its members had a vested interest in the outcome and could also provide some insight into the broader implications if the legislation was allowed to remain in effect.

Under the Australian Constitution only the Commonwealth Government can levy what is known as “excise duty”. In order for the Victorian legislation to be struck down the plaintiffs had to prove two things.

First, the ZLEV charge was a tax which was distinguished from a government feefor-service or a privilege such as driver’s licence. Secondly, the tax has to be a tax on goods, such as electric vehicles themselves.

The ZLEV Act met these two criteria, and the challenge was successful mainly on these two grounds.

“The legislation didn’t differentiate between passenger and commercial vehicles,” says Nathan. “The ATA viewpoint was looking at the broader implications of that charge if it was permitted to occur. Speci cally, they were concerned about road user charging (RUC) and what form it might take in the future. The concern was that each state and territory could impose its own road user charging regime. This could have led to a situation where there would be competing, contrasting, and overlapping schemes within each state and it could result in increased administration as well as double charging.”

The ATA’s main concern was about those

broader implications, in particular given that the pay-as-you-go Road User Charge is an issue being re-examined at the moment. “They wanted to make sure that it went down the proper path rather than what I describe as into Wild West territory,” says Nathan. “You could actually nd yourself in the situation of double charging. If it had been upheld all of the states would be free to add a similar charge for heavy vehicles with either electric or internal combustion engines.”

Nathan and other legal minds had concerns about the intention of the legislation which was being challenged. “It was something that was problematic from the start,” he says. “There were ways they might have been able to do it and for it to be effective. It probably wouldn’t have been as targeted as this was on the usage of a particular vehicle on particular roads. But they can certainly include a general increase in the registration charges for electric vehicles in respect of their road usage. I guess EV drivers in Victoria were going to face ongoing increased costs for owning and driving EVs and that’s obviously a disincentive for people adopting EVs, whereas the broader policy discussion is that we actually want to encourage people to adopt EVs.”

To make the adoption of EVs as easy

as possible and not to penalise people or deter them seems to be what Chris Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies were really ghting for, and as committed environmentalists, the couple were willing plaintiffs and participants as gureheads to run the argument against the legislation.

“Outside of Chris and Kathleen’s position, the broader concern was that we could end up in a situation where each state and territory was making a grab for Road User Charges in inconsistent ways,” says Nathan. “Any business acting nationally was going to end up with a supreme headache in trying to deal with those overlapping regimes.”

On the matter of why Victoria initiated the now proved invalid legislation in the rst place, Nathan remains philosophical. “I think they [the Victorian Government] were looking at their own position and securing the revenue streams for the state, but not necessarily considering the broader implications if the other states did exactly the same sort of thing,” he adds.

The successful case against the Victorian legislation involved one defendant, two plaintiffs, seven judges, nine “interveners” including the ATA and 26 barristers. The case ran to 132,339 words across 398 pages with 951 paragraphs and 1,979 footnotes.

Image: Prime Creative Media.
Nathan Cecil TruckSafe Director and Holding Redlich partner.

This article extends ARTSA’s contribution to the discussion about greenhouse gas reductions in the road transport sector. This article describes the approach being taken in Europe and contrasts it with the Australian situation.

Our May 2024 Prime Mover article presented a plan to reduce the Australian road freight sector’s emissions.

In April 2024, Members of the European Parliament adopted new measures to strengthen CO2 emission reduction targets for new heavy-duty vehicles.

Carbon Dioxide emissions from new large trucks (including vocational vehicles, such as garbage trucks, tippers or concrete mixers) and buses will have to be reduced by:

• 45 per cent for the period 2030-2034.

• 65 per cent for 2035-2039 and;

• 90 per cent as of 2040 (base year for all EU targets is 1990).

New urban buses will need to reduce their emissions by 90 per cent and become zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Emissions reduction targets are also set for new trailers (7.5 per cent) and new semi-trailers (10 per cent), starting from 2030. To achieve these targets, for vehicles that usually do not have engines, aerodynamic and tyre friction losses need to be reduced. On motor vehicles, the reductions will mainly be achieved by introduction of electric and hybrid drives.

How Europe is tackling carbon emissions targets and how this impacts Australia

Averaging over the manufacturer’s eet of new vehicles will be applied. Australia in contrast has no vehicle-speci c targets:

• Australia has committed to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

• Australia has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (across all economic sectors) by 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

• Each state has also set interim emissions reduction targets for new vehicles by 2030: NSW: 50 per cent; Victoria: 50 per cent; Queensland: 30 per cent; South Australia: at least 50 per cent; Western Australia: 80 per cent below 2020 levels; ACT: 65-75 per cent (on 1990 levels); Tasmania: achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

On the new vehicle front, the New Vehicle Ef ciency Standard Bill (NVES) was released on the 27th March 2024 to:

• Reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars, sport utility vehicles, utes and vans, and stimulate the provision of low and zero emissions vehicles into the Australian market.

Note that there is no ‘tonne-kilometre greenhouse gas emissions target’ being applied to in-service vehicles. There is no in-service vehicle greenhouse reduction plan.

Given the de nitive steps taken in Europe and the recent release of the NVES, it is likely that the Australian Government has further targets and instructions to come that will directly impact the road transport industry. However, the Federal Government does not regulate the in-service vehicle sector. If the state government reduction targets stated above are to be met, state and territory government reduction plans will be needed for the road transport

sector and mapping and consultation is currently underway.

One stressor felt in the Australian industry is that cost and productivity will be signi cantly inhibited if we cannot adapt to these targets in a practical way. Early calculations done by the Truck Industry Council already demonstrated that even if manufacturers moved to 100 per cent new electric trucks by 2030, it would still barely put a dint in the numbers due to an ageing eet of vehicles. Not to mention the challenges which still exist for battery life and long haul applications. Hence the need for in-service reduction measures. This aside, what can we learn from our European colleagues to better arm ourselves to tackle the emissions challenge on local soil? Well, there is clearly no silver bullet to solve this problem. At the moment, the approach from the European Union seems to be twofold.

1. Move to electric, fuel cell or other zero emissions vehicles as soon as possible and assume technology catches up as well as the infrastructure required.

2. Calculate and record every CO2 saving possible for both Trucks and trailer by using VECTO — Vehicle Energy Consumption calculation tool.

On point 1 regarding zero emissions trucks: The European union is directing manufacturers to move their production from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles to BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles), fuel cell or other zero emissions options. There appears to be very little appetite for biofuels for a couple of key reasons. Firstly, if energy is placed into biofuels, then this will dilute the critical funding and infrastructure required for electric and fuel cell vehicles. It is acknowledged that these vehicles are initially more expensive


to build, so it’s important to create a level playing eld for manufacturers and operators. The bulk move by Europe to zero emissions vehicles will no doubt assist with the economics of the change required locally in Australia. It is likely that prices will stabilise as manufacturing and technology improve.

Secondly, the aviation and shipping industry have no easy solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and it is thought that they will consume most of the product required to produce biofuels, hence this is not a viable option for trucks long-term.

On point 2 regarding VECTO. This is the new simulation tool developed by the European Commission and is used for determining both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles with a gross weight above 3500kg. Application of this tool is now mandatory for new trucks in certain categories since January 2019, and trailers are included also. Suppliers are required to provide evidence-based information that is added to this calculator periodically.

For example, electric axles are still being considered by the European Commission and have not yet been added to VECTO at this time, but will in the future.

As another example, the Knorr-Bremse new generation of disc brake SYNACT is

currently being reviewed to be added to the tool. The weight savings and active caliper release (ACR) system demonstrated a one per cent fuel reduction in testing as well as reduced brake pad wear. Essentially every bit counts and global manufacturers now have an obligation not just to move to alternative power supplies, but also to consider sustainability and emissions in every element of product design. Note that the reductions levels are being applied to OEM manufacturers who are insisting that suppliers nd emissions savings.

There is also a growing trend around materials and other forms of emissions such as brake dust and particulate matters that will only gain focus in the years to come. One key change we already have seen is in the removal of a large proportion of copper from brake linings to meet global automotive regulations. In recent years this has impacted local heavy vehicle manufacturers and also triggered additional testing and cost not foreseen. It can only be assumed that more changes will come as the environmental impacts of various materials continue to be investigated and actioned globally. It’s also evident that VECTO is a sensible and transparent approach to measuring and meeting emissions targets. Will

VECTO be used in Australia? If so, would its use be mandated by the few local vehicle manufacturers we have left or will Australia have its own unique calculator? The other interesting point is that the European mandates have included trailers and a 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent reduction in emissions that have not yet been identi ed by our government as targets. Would VECTO or an equivalent be an expectation of our local trailer manufacturers? Time will tell.

Link for VECTO webpage Vehicle Energy

Consumption calculation

TOol - VECTO - European Commission (


• 24 July 2024 – Auburn Hotel, Auburn, Vic. Dinner meeting with guest speakers.

• 12 September 2024 – Life Saving Victoria, Port Melbourne. Embracing Change & Innovation. ARTSA membership is free for the remainder of 2024. See the website at:

Electric vehicles make up about 90 per cent of all new car sales in Norway and as such the country is typically held up as the poster child, a model, for the transition to net zero road transportation. However, some recent reports do not paint Norway as the electric utopia that many believe it to be, and Australia could do well to understand why decarbonisation in Norway is struggling to achieve its intended goals.

In 2023, 82 per cent of all new passenger cars sold in Norway were battery electric, up from 79 per cent in 2022, according to data from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Road Federation. That share has grown to over 90 per cent in the rst quarter vehicle sales this year. Now Norway is blessed with an abundance of green hydro generated electricity, so it has a signi cant advantage over most countries in the world, including the driest continent on earth, Australia. The uptake of electric cars in Norway has also signi cantly bene ted from ‘generous nancial incentives,’ which have been partly funded by the Government’s Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund that has amassed its wealth from sales of oil and gas. This insight was detailed in a recent nancial piece by investment bank UBS.

A report by Rystad Energy in late 2023

Norway’s electric utopia

detailed that electric cars have accounted for at least 80 per cent of all passenger vehicle sales for the past three years, 2020 to 2022. More than 50 per cent of passenger cars on the road in Oslo, Norway’s capital, are electric, or hybrid and it is estimated that battery electric vehicles alone, will pass the 50 per cent threshold in the next two years. One would think that such an aggressive growth in electric vehicle sales should lead to a dramatic fall in Norway’s fossil fuel consumption, however that is yet to materialise and sales gures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show diesel and gasoline demand has declined only modestly since 2017. In the rst half of 2023, road fuel sales hovered around 62,000 barrels per day, just a 10 per cent fall from the 70,000 barrels per day sold in 2017, well after Norway’s electric vehicle boom started. According to Rystad Energy, current consumption is relatively stable between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels per day, with a precipitous drop not forecast in the near term.

The above referenced USB article sheds a little more insight into why Norway is struggling to make a signi cant dent in its road vehicle fossil fuel use. The electric vehicle take-up rate in Oslo is not typical for that across Norway, with adoption slower across the country. Pure electric cars make up 21 per cent of the total car eet at the end of 2023, while petrol cars accounted for around 23 per cent and diesel cars for about 33 per cent, with the remainder being hybrids and LPG fuelled. This highlights the better suitability of electric vehicles for city applications, but that they are less

desirable for regional transportation. So, what can Australia learn from the Norway experience? Firstly, the road to net zero for road transport will require a mix of technologies, battery electric, hybrids, hydrogen (possibly, a little further out) and low carbon fuels. The latter being essential for use in our existing truck eet that will take decades to replace due to our very old truck park. Our nation’s heavy vehicle eet, having an average age that is approaching 15 years, would require 30 years to replace, if we start in earnest today. Battery electric trucks and vans are increasingly becoming a viable alternative to diesel trucks in city/metro/urban environments, however over longer distances they are less optimal. Here hybrid, diesel/electric trucks, are a better solution at present. While for intrastate, interstate and remote area linehaul, diesel trucks running on low carbon fuels, such as renewable diesel, can reduce CO 2 emissions by 90 per cent, over mineral diesel. Such fuels must be factored into the decarbonisation pathway for our industry.

The Truck Industry Council calls on all levels of Australian government to develop technology neutral decarbonisation strategies for the road transport sector. Supported by the necessary regulatory frameworks and scal environment that will allow all CO2 reducing pathways to foster and not lock the sector into a singular focused technical solution. One that may not deliver the required outcome.

As the backbone of Victoria’s and the nation’s economy, the transport industry plays a pivotal role in facilitating trade, connecting communities, and driving economic growth. However, to sustain this vital role and meet the evolving needs of our state, signi cant investment in transport infrastructure is imperative. The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) staunchly advocated for robust funding allocations in both the 2024-25 Victorian and Federal budgets to address the pressing infrastructure challenges faced by our transport network and supports allocations from both jurisdictions. In the face of burgeoning population growth and increasing urbanisation, congestion has become a major bottleneck hampering productivity and hindering the ef cient movement of goods and people. The North East Link project stands as a beacon of hope to alleviate congestion woes in Melbourne’s north-eastern corridor, one of the most congested and economically vital areas in the state. With the Commonwealth’s allocation of $3.2 billion for this transformative project, the VTA applauds federal commitment to enhancing connectivity and unlocking economic potential.

The North East Link is not merely a road project; it is a catalyst for economic prosperity, job creation, and improved liveability. By seamlessly linking the

Why transport infrastructure investments are essential

Eastern Freeway to the M80 Ring Road, this project will signi cantly reduce travel times, enhance freight ef ciency, and alleviate pressure on existing arterial routes. The associated direct and indirect job creation during construction and the long-term economic bene ts stemming from improved connectivity underscore the project’s signi cance in driving Victoria’s post-pandemic recovery.

Beyond the North East Link, the VTA advocated for a comprehensive approach to transport infrastructure investment that addresses both road and rail networks. Rail freight plays a crucial role in transporting goods across Victoria and beyond, yet ageing infrastructure and capacity constraints pose signi cant challenges. Therefore, investments in rail freight infrastructure are paramount to unlocking the full potential of Victoria’s freight industry, enhancing supply chain ef ciency, and reducing road congestion. This needn’t be to the detriment of road freight operators because as I’ve stated many times, trains and ships carry freight but only trucks deliver.

Furthermore, the VTA urges the prioritisation of regional transport infrastructure projects to support economic development outside metropolitan areas. Adequate funding for regional road upgrades, rail connectivity, and freight hubs is essential to bolster regional economies, connect regional communities, and foster social inclusion. Neglecting regional infrastructure investment not only sti es growth in these areas but also exacerbates disparities between urban and regional areas.

In addition to addressing immediate infrastructure needs, the VTA emphasises the importance of future-proo ng our transport network against emerging challenges such as climate change and technological advancements. Sustainable

transport solutions, including investment in hydrogen and electric vehicle charging infrastructure and public transport, are essential to reducing emissions, mitigating environmental impact, and enhancing the resilience of our transport system.

Embracing innovation and leveraging emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and smart traf c management systems can revolutionise the ef ciency and safety of our transport network. However, realising the full potential of these technologies requires strategic investments in research, development, and infrastructure deployment.

Critics may argue against increased infrastructure spending, citing budgetary constraints or competing priorities. However, the VTA rmly believes that investment in transport infrastructure is not a mere expenditure but rather a strategic investment in the nation’s future prosperity. The returns on these investments, in terms of economic growth, job creation, and improved quality of life, far outweigh the upfront costs.

The VTA urges both the Victorian and Federal governments to prioritise transport and infrastructure investments in their delivery of these and future budgets. The allocation of $3.2 billion for the North East Link is a commendable step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to address the multifaceted challenges facing our transport network. By investing in strategic transport infrastructure projects, we can unlock economic potential, improve connectivity, and drive Victoria and Australia towards a brighter and more prosperous future.


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