Triple Frontier – Prime Mover Magazine

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It’s no secret that having quality commercial vehicles goes a long way to attracting quality drivers and if a fleet is already fortunate enough to employ some of them, then a top of the range truck won’t hinder the prospects of keeping them longer term.

In an ultra-competitive market plagued by an unremitting driver shortage having the best person behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle, especially one charged with moving precious freight while navigating the vagaries that come with sharing the highway with other road users, is a requisite for fleet managers and freight carriers alike.

Not all rare commodities on the road are carried in the trailer.

Against a backdrop of an escalating freight task compounded even further by global supply chain disruptions, G1 Logistics, the road freight wing of GTS Freight Management in Mildura, where it is based, has introduced two new Scanias into its fleet of over 150 prime movers.

Both Euro 6 emission rated V8s have been purchased to anchor a major contract for the business under special permit first granted by Transport for NSW at the height of the 2020 COVID-19 scare in Australia.

The first of these, a Scania R 580, arrived in April last year, back when there were more unknowns than knowns regarding how industry was going to be affected. Looking back at the higher productivity vehicles launched last year one must bear in mind the context of which their operation on the Hume Highway was sanctioned.

The permit for specialised B-triples now in action for G1 Logistics was granted to ensure products arrived faster to depleted supermarkets.

Scania R 650 B-triple enters the G1 Logistics yard in Mildura.

At the time the supply chain for the sector was being stretched by uncertainties caused, roughly speaking, from the desperate behaviours of consumers stockpiling essential goods.

With the oncoming COVID crisis soon came opportunity. To see larger loads transported northbound across Sheahan Bridge near Gundagai, the permits enabled direct trips into a key Woolworths Distribution Centre in Western Sydney.

For G1 Logistics, approval for running a B-triple would give them 50 pallets capacity on the floor of each trailer, eight more each than a Super-B combination and 14 more each than a customary B-double.

Mass loading on this route increased from 68.5 tonnes to 79 tonnes, an estimated 22 per cent gain in payload. So that it would comply to the conditions of the permit the company, needed to tick every box available related to safety when it came to committing to a truck.

Scania, not surprisingly, soon emerged as the front runner.

“Today’s Scania has pretty much got everything any other truck can offer in the safety category,” says Damien Matthews, G1 Logistics Managing Director. “At the time of negotiation there was a lot of back and forth between Transport for NSW and myself. It was intrinsic to supplying those high safety standards as we sought approval on the vehicles.”

Another New Generation Scania, an R 650, was added five months later to work in tandem on the 1400-kilometre long haul circuit cycling between Adelaide, Mildura, where driver changeovers occur, and Sydney. Both Scanias are pulling identical B-triples built and designed by Vawdrey with a similar freight profile — mostly ambient — under the same permit.

“It makes for an interesting comparison,” says Damien. “Not often do you get that. As a fleet owner, not driving either vehicle, the R 580 is more than adequate for what we’re doing. Then again an owner-driver might, under different operating conditions, consider going with the R 650.”

In the current application speed is capped at 90 km/h. With the distinct spec of its Vawdrey trailers, designed to maximise the aperture in the trailers for extra internal height, an axle ratio of 3:05:1 on the steer and drive is ideal while using a customary low-profile trailer tyre.

“We’re seeing 1.6 km/litre with a B-triple which is as good as…



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