Industry News

Industry News Promises Changes

This week’s industry news promises changes across the transport world, including on level crossing safety, new acquisitions, resources for drivers and a weighbridge trial.

ATA calls for level crossing changes

ATA chair David Smith has called on rail regulators to increase safety at level crossings after the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) released a draft for its Code of Practice on Level Crossings and Train Visibility.

“The code’s voluntary and non-binding nature is problematic for improving train illumination. Accidents at night-time represent a significant proportion of total road deaths, suggesting that decreased visibility plays a significant role in collisions,” Smith says.

“Road users and rail workers are dying, and better lighting on locomotives and wagons, such as flashing beacon lights and side lights could prevent crashes and save lives.

“The ATA strongly advocates for making lighting and illumination a legal requirement, emphasising that train conspicuity is a critical aspect of level crossing safety.

“Trucks are required by law to meet minimum lighting and illumination standards. There is no reason why trains should not be subject to similar requirements.

“The ATA has called for the code to be transitioned into regulations under the Rail Safety National Law to ensure greater accountability and safety compliance in the rail industry.

“The ATA urges ONRSR to seize this opportunity to demonstrate the rail industry’s dedication to achieving zero deaths and serious injuries at level crossings.”

Penske branches out into retail automotive

Penske has an eye on expanding its automotive operations in Australia, acquiring two Porsche dealerships along with a Ducati motorcycle dealership in Melbourne.

The company has signed an agreement to acquire Porsche Centre Brighton, Porsche Centre Doncaster and Ducati Melbourne West. The Brighton dealership, which is located approximately 20 minutes from central Melbourne, opened in March 2009 and has been serving the Porsche community in Melbourne for nearly 15 years. The Doncaster dealership is the newest official Porsche Centre.

“We are delighted to announce this transaction and expand our partnership with the Porsche brand,” says Penske Automotive Group Head of International Operations Randall Seymore.

“For over ten years we have strategically built a diverse commercial vehicle and power systems business that operates across Australia and New Zealand based on our commitment to strong customer service.

“With this acquisition we will leverage that existing infrastructure and our significant experience in the retail automotive industry to drive growth of the Porsche brand in Melbourne by building a relationship with Porsche enthusiasts through a focus on the customer experience.”

Penske says the acquisition will likely close in the second quarter of 2024.

Image: Penske Australia

NHVR launches weighbridge trial

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is beginning a trial for two unstaffed out-of-hours weighbridges in New South Wales, beginning this month.

One weighbridge is located at the Halfway Creek HVSS, on the Pacific Highway 32kms south of Grafton, and the second one is the Daroobalgie HVSS near Parkes and will operate at both north and southbound sites.

NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati says the pilot aims to create a safer industry and safer roads.

“Effective from the beginning of April, two weighbridges will be open outside of operational hours on key transportation routes in NSW, allowing drivers to check the weight of their vehicle and ensure their movements are safe and efficient,” Salvati says.

“These sites are being offered on a trial basis to complement existing public weighing facilities and we will be closely monitoring this pilot, to evaluate its effectiveness.

“With the weighbridges being open while unstaffed, we’d like to remind drivers to utilise these sites in a safe and productive manner.

“Throughout this pilot, we want to see these sites remain free from vandalism and damage – in the past, incidents like these resulted in many weighbridges being gated across NSW.”

Livestock transport resource launched

Meat and Livestock Australia has announced that it is launching a new information resource for drivers and workers in the livestock transport industry, known as the MLA Transport Hub.

MLA consulted heavily with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, operators and other relevant industry bodies to launch the service.

It says it will help to unify rules and guidelines across the industry to provide the best outcomes for the animals being transported.

“Transporting and handling livestock is a specialist task and one which the whole supply chain relies on to be performed safely, efficiently and professionally,” says ALRTA vice-president Athol Carter.

“Well planned and managed livestock transport delivers the best results for people and animals, higher profits and ensures the sustainability of the industry.”

The MLA says that the launching of the information hub was a joint effort between different sectors of the farming and transport industries.

“It’s probably the first time that the grazing production industry has come together with the transport industry to solve some common problems that we see across the industry,” says cattle producer and MLA board member Russell Lethbridge.

“We all have to recognise that for the majority of Australians, all they see of our industry is those sheep, or cattle, or goats going past their windows or on their roads.

“We just need to make sure that what they see is acceptable.”


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