Attendees at the IRTENZ regional meeting in Tauranga on Friday 14 July agreed that industry needs to ensure maximum advantage and efficiency is explored and extracted from the current 23m length restrictions before moving on. National Transport Manager at Toll New Zealand, James Smith, reported to the well attended meeting on the four 25m trial trucks Toll have run since 2013. Smith told the meeting the trucks had presented no access or tracking challenges that fell outside the operational envelope of a 23m unit, but did offer significant productivity gains.
“The access challenges came with the jump from 20 to 23m, not 23 to 25m.” He went on to say that trials of optiturn steering axles on dog trailers certainly enhanced slow speed manoeuvring, however on road the vehicle’s speed did not get low enough to initiate steering.
Smith said Toll NZ wouldn’t hesitate to build more 25m units if the current regulatory environment allowed, however he was fully supportive of the group discussion that followed which concluded that although 25m should be the long-term objective, the industry’s case would be far stronger if we were able to demonstrate that we’d ‘squeezed the lemon’ on all that could be gained from 23m. The group also felt that the dust needed to settle on NZTA’s recent restructure. The combined strategy would lead to a stronger lobbying case to a stable, objective, and well-informed regulating body in the future.