Diesel gets on its bike

This week, as part of the Tour de Office fundraising campaign at Simons National Carriers at their head office in Carole Park on the outskirts of Brisbane, two Diesel Magazine staff put in a few kilometres for a good cause. The event was part of the company’s contribution to events in Truckweek.

 

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Editor, Tim Giles, managed a creditable 19.3 km on the stationary bicycle in the 30 minutes allowed, while, journalist, Chris Smith came in with a 13.47 km finish. So far, Simon’s Managing Director, David Simon leads the money raised leaderboard with over $4000 raised for charity. He managed to complete 21.6 km in his 30 minute stint.

 

$55,000 has been raised at the ten organisations involved in the national event. The Tour de Office cycling challenge enables companies all around Australia to raise funds for a number of charities, including the Heart Foundation,The Kids’ Cancer Project, Mummy’s Wish, Courier Mail Children’s Fund, Cerebral Palsy League, Diabetes Queensland/Australia, Ronald McDonald House and the Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund.

 

All over the country a number of stationary bikes were set up in offices and the entire event is streamed live via webcam, so friends, family, colleagues and sponsors can catch all the action.

The action can be viewed on the Tour de Office website.

 

 

The road ahead for Linfox

Here is Linfox’s latest video outlining the business’s world view and way forward. Reminiscent of the long-running Bunnings ads, the video sees the Linfox workers tell us the Linfox corporate message. The emphasis on warehousing, distribution and expansion in Asia, show us just how far the former trucking-only operation has come. Linfox is now one of the logistics giants of Asia, alongside Toll Group in taking Australian systems and expertise into the rapidly growing Asian economies.

Building your own Kenworth

Ever wanted to build your own Kenworth truck? Well here’s how you do it, with Lego! Not quite as satisfying as the real thing.

Looking good

If there’s one thing the US trucking industry knows, it’s how to customise a good looking truck. Here a camera has been set up as the trucks in the Pride and Polish competition leave the site of the Great American Trucking Show. The GATS takes place each August in the Dallas Convention Centre in Texas and includes an industry conference as well as a recruiting pavilion, where 100 different trucking companies compete to offer truckies a job in their operation.

 

Of course, the most popular attraction is the Pride and Polish event, totally impractical, but beautiful!

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New Actros for Australia

The new shape Actros is set to be on sale here in Australia by the end of 2016 and will be available in Euro 5 as well as Euro 6 versions. The truck was released in Europe in the lead up to the introduction of Euro 6 in the EU in 2011, but the German truck manufacturer had hesitated to release it here before new emission regulations demanded it.

 

The Actros design is a complete departure from anything offered by Benz in the past. They have moved away from the V6 and V8 engines currently offered and gone to the Mercedes Benz version of the same basic engine block used in the Detroit DD 13 and 15. Of course, the engine mapping and performance are completely different to that offered in the Detroit version, more suited to European driving conditions.

 

Originally it was expected the new Actros would only be offered as a Euro 6 emissions level engine. However, Diesel News has learned this week, from the new General Manager Mercedes Benz Truck and Bus, Justin Whitford, there will be a version compliant with the current ADR 80/03 emission rules for customers who prefer it.

 

Benz is about to begin a substantial program of testing of the new Actros on our roads. As the new shape will be impossible to fully disguise, we can expect to see a couple of unusual test prime movers appear in a selection of fleets in the next couple of years.

 

Here is promotional stunt Mercedes Benz set up, arriving as a taxi to pick up passengers working for rival truck makers:

Call this trucking?

The reality for, just about, everyone in the trucking world, is the lack of facilities on the road and the cramped conditions living in a cabin. This is especially an issue when driving two-up, even the biggest cabs can feel small with two truckies living in them.

 

This US couple have found their answer. The lack of a length limit for trucks in North America means it is possible to build luxury accommodation onto the rear end of a prime mover. These guys have gone to the extreme of having a spacious living area with them at all times.

 

Smooth roads and roomy parking or unloading areas would be vital to make this truck practical. However, there are no more nights stuck in a parking bay with no facilities, proper cooking gear or a comfy lounge on which to watch TV. Is this like real trucking? Not as I recall it!

 

This is an Australian truck featured in the same series from Volvo:

Trucking always bad guys

Here is another prime example of the trucking industry being painted as the bad guy, at the same time as showing unrelated footage very different from the reported incident. The accident was tragic, a dog trailer disconnected on a bend near Wodonga and hit two cars killing three people. It couldn’t get any worse, but it does.

 

We have come to expect better from SBS, but are sadly disappointed. The news editors automatically link the accident with the Cootes crash at Mona Vale last year. This is unfair and a long bow to draw. Evidence of poor maintenance compliance has been inferred in the investigation of Cootes.

 

There is no evidence of dysfunctional maintenance regimes in the BP fleet in the wake of this tragic event. If  Vic Roads are going over the BP fleet and found seven ‘notices for maintenance’. If they went over any fleet with a fine tooth comb they could unearth that many.

 

For SBS to tie in footage of last year’s Mona Vale crash implies some real wrongdoing, which many in the industry believe was not in evidence in the BP fleet, is wrong. There is no balance here, the truckies are just bad guys, and that’s it according to the report.

 

Along comes the TWU spokesperson with the usual mention of the word ‘carnage’ to ensure inclusion in the report. None of his criticism is relevant or constructive, just a generally negative swipe at trucking operators, with no explanation.

 

The video below shows the ABC take on events. The TWU line gets a good run here, but at the end TWU Acting National President Michael Kaine makes the same point expounded in Diesel News last week. The authorities are reactive to disaster not proactive in finding solutions.

 

Looking back

Here’s a compilation of footage of scenes throughout the history of trucking in Australia. Of course, there’s the nostalgia, with the Rotinoffs, Atkinsons, 1418 Benz etc. Then scenes from the Razorback blockade. There is also the stark contrast to the trucking industry of today and a reminder of just how rough and ready the entire industry was in those days.

 

The statistics prove it, the numbers of people killed or injured in or by trucks was astounding, when compared to today. One stat which is quite shocking, mainly because it went largely unremarked at the time, was 23 people killed on one 45 km stretch of the Hume Highway in the first six months of 1989. Not all were trucking related but trucks were implicated in many of them.

 

Luckily, times have changed. Yes, it was great to work in a trucking industry where you were your own boss, could work on your own initiative and get away with a larrikin lifestyle, but it did have its drawbacks. There will be plenty of older and retired truckies dealing with the health consequences of that lifestyle. It’s nice to reminisce, but times have changed and we have moved on.

Freight on the move

Here’s a video extolling the importance of the freight industry to the Australian economy at the same time as publicising the work of the Australian Logistics Council. Some great points are made here about just how important freight is to our wellbeing. Read more

Hi tech truck building

Behind every new truck coming off the production line are a number of robots and behind those robots is a state-of-the-art computer design and control program. The complexity of the design and manufacture of the modern truck has to be seen to be believed.

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