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US truck greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency proposed standard released


In the United States the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration are working on producing greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards that make up the Heavy-Duty National Program are to cover model years 2021 to 2027 and are the next phase (Phase 2) to cover greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for the trucking industry. The EPA and the NHTSA have previously come together to develop the first phase of the standards which is midway through its implementation (2014-2018)

The proposed standards are to be met through the wider development of existing and advanced technologies that shall be achievable and affordable to implement by the standards introduction. Under the proposed standards the fuel consumption of a tractor trailer should drop by up to 24%.

Under the lifetime of the vehicles the standards will be inforce for it is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about one billion metric tonnes and to save 284 billion litres of fuel.

The American Trucking Associations has expressed their support for the measures and indicated it meets 14 of their 15 preferred guiding principles for for evaluating future emissions standards.

However the organisation has expressed concern that the standards could create pressure for potential fuel-saving technologies to be installed on vehicles before they are fully tested.

Furthermore according to the ATA their members would like to see the technology which is expected to add US$10,000 to US$12,000 to the price of a truck be recuperated within 18 to 24 months. According to the EPA and the NHTSA the costs will be recouped by 2 years for a tractor/trailer combo but other vehicles such as pick-ups or vans would take longer at about three years.

Despite the additional cost to purchase a new truck under these standards according to the EPA and NHTSA the benefits to society (including the road transport industry) outweigh costs over the lifetime of the vehicles by a ratio of 10:1.

American President Barack Obama has requested the standards be finalised by March next year.



International Day of the Seafarer Careers Video


Thursday 25 June was the International Day of the Seafarer and, to mark the occasion, The Australian Maritime Safety Authority shared the #CareerAtSea stories of some of their employees.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Day of the Seafarer theme for 2015 focussed on the different facets of a career at sea. It was aimed at encouraging young people, and those looking to retrain, to consider a career within the maritime industry.


Check the video out here


Truck Industry Council’s National Truck Plan to Modernise Australia’s Trucking Fleet


The Truck Industry Council has recently updated its National Truck Plan to support the modernisation of the Australian trucking fleet through a proposed government incentive scheme.

SAFC strongly supports the Truck Industry Council’s proposition to provide the road transport industry an added government incentive to promote the greater rollout of more efficient and environmentally friendly trucks.

Under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 the Federal Government is obliged to actively investigate incentives to modernise the nation’s trucking fleet and TIC’s “The Ageing of the Australian Truck Fleet: Implications and Opportunities” document more than adequately details benefits that merit  government investigation.

It is of great importance that Australia continues to reduce the noxious emissions resulting from road transport such as NOx and Particulate Matter emissions through investing in more modern, efficient and ‘greener’ equipment. The commercial decision whether to buy new equipment is driven by a company’s bottom line and as the average age of Australia’s trucking fleet in fact is growing it suggests that the industry does not have the resources to invest in more ‘greener’, efficient vehicles to the detriment of the economy and the health of local communities particularly those in urban areas.


Screengrab from a recent TIC presentation outlining Australia’s ageing truck fleet


The latest ABS Motor Vehicle Census finds that 43% of heavy rigid trucks and 28% of articulated trucks were first purchased in 1998 or earlier. This would imply that a significant percentage of Australia’s trucking fleet do not meet any stringent emission standards that have been introduced progressively since 1996 via Australian Design Rules.

According to the Truck Industry Council this is having a significant negative impact on the community. In 2013 the Trucking Industry Council looked to calculate the savings associated with a more modern trucking fleet (one with an average age of 8 years, with only 5% or less trucks purchased pre-1996). They found that Australian governments could save $1.97 billion through avoided health costs associated with noxious emissions. Furthermore avoided fatalities due to newer, safer trucks operating on our roads would result in an estimated saving of $164 million, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions could save $564 million (all savings in 2014 dollars). The big winner perhaps though would be the transport and logistics industry itself with a potential saving from reduced operating costs of $2.96 billion.

Calculations undertaken by SAFC have illustrated that if the industry was successful in eliminating all pre-1996 registered heavy rigid and articulated trucks and replacing them with ADR 80/03 compliant ones then Australia could reduce the amount of NOx produced by heavy rigid and articulated trucks by 53% and from Particulate Matter by 79% (assuming all trucks travel an equal distance regardless of age).

SAFC too has been active in calling for a similar incentive system. SAFC in the past has called for the Federal Government to consider introducing an Accelerated Depreciation for Freight Vehicle Scheme. Similarly SAFC believe such a system will bring forward the replacement of obsolete equipment (which will deliver operational, safety and environmental benefits).

Undoubtedly such an incentive scheme would result in reduced government revenue, as accelerated depreciation is a kin to an interest free loan which allows a deferral of tax payments with no increase in the interest due. However SAFC believe such a system would replace outdated trucks with more modern trucks and in the end would result in a significant saving to government through the areas highlighted by the Truck Industry Council.

Other countries have shown they are able to achieve this. In comparison to Australia about 40% of German trucks meet Euro V or ADR 80/03 standards (only 12.5% of Australian trucks meet these standards). The German trucking industry has been able to achieve one of the most efficient and ‘green’ trucking fleets in the world because the Federal German government has been proactive in providing incentives to the industry. The German government has subsidised the purchase of new trucks over 12 tonnes since 2007. Previously the subsidy covered around 50% of the difference between Euro IV and Euro V trucks to encourage operators to purchase a more environmentally sound truck.

The German transport and logistics industry is further incentivised to purchase more modern trucks as they are charged a toll according to their engine emission standards on the nation’s Autobahn and a sizeable percentage of their highway network.

Similarly TIC’s proposal includes a change to the charging of the industry’s Road User Charge, which they believe should be varied by the emission standards of that truck (in which the fuel tax credit is lowered for older trucks). This could provide a similar incentive that has produced success in Germany.

TIC's document can be downloaded here.


Roadblock to Chain of Responsibility Laws on Roadworthiness ?


In early 2015 submissions to the National Transport Commission (NTC) largely illustrated the transport industry’s backing for the introduction of a uniform national heavy vehicle roadworthiness system. The NTC called for submissions to their Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to aid in the development and assessment of a number of regulatory options and their potential impacts on a national roadworthiness system.

Following this the NTC  has recently issued an options paper as part of the ongoing review of the chain of responsibility provisions in the new Heavy Vehicle National Laws.

While there seemed to be widespread support for the introduction of Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness system it appears there is major disagreement between some States on what this uniform roadworthiness should look like. It has been reported that the three states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia have strong differences in opinion on the matter. In terms of their current modus operandi states differ substantially on their roadworthiness practises. For example New South Wales perform an inspection on every truck every year (though not a full roadworthiness inspection) while currently Victoria undertakes almost no inspections to speak of.

Minister Mullighan speaking on ABC radio has confirmed that South Australia is still committed to the introduction of a Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness regime. He indicated that South Australia and New South Wales enjoy similar commitment and that both states “wholeheartedly support introducing more stringent requirements on their heavy vehicle industry.”

On being questioned on who is delaying the introduction of the system the Minister mentioned some vested interests in some parts of the industry that don’t want to see its introduction as they view it as further red tape resulting in additional costs to their business.

Those against the introduction of Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness system have negatively pointed to the focus on maintenance and brought up that poor maintenance is only responsible for 1-5% of heavy vehicle crashes. They believe a more predominant effort should be exercised in fixing driver-related issues, cargo problems and the absence of cruise control which they argue are more pressing safety matters. 

Safework SA National Freight Transport Project


In February 2015, SafeWork SA completed the state component of a national project involving the freight transport sector.

The focus of this project was to address injuries resulting from falls from a height, and falls at the same level. There was also a focus on addressing injuries from hazardous manual tasks.

In 2010-12, 36% of injuries in the sector were attributed to muscular stress, 30% for falls, and 12% for vehicle accidents. These types of injuries are common for transport workers across Australia.

Randomly selected transport businesses were contacted to be part of the project and provided with a self-assessment checklist to fill out prior to a scheduled visit by a member of the SafeWork SA Workplace Support Team.

SafeWork SA staff visited a total of 14 medium and 25 small businesses from late November 2014 to the end of January 2015.  

Based on the results from the 39 businesses who participated in the project, the following trends emerged:

70% had no WHS representative on site (N.B. workplaces only need a HSR if requested by workers)

88% familiar with legislative duties

90% effectively undertake corrective actions as WHS issues reported

Documentation of toolbox meetings ad hoc or not documentedEmployers consulted well with workers, mostly via toolbox meetings
Almost 20% had no review process in place when managing hazards

62% effectively manage hazards and risks

Businesses largely provided adequate training and supervision of workers


85% effectively reported hazards and injuries

Larger PCBUs* had documentation in place for WHS, with access to professional consultation

*PCBU = Person Conducting Business Undertaking

You can access a variety of resources that can help you to improve your OHS&W environment through the SafeWork SA Website HERE