Trailer Magazine

Why Weight?

  • From the March 2018 issue.
Why Weight?

Wharf carrier, Chalmers Industries, introduced its first 117-tonne quad quad super B-double to the Port of Brisbane last year in a project that required the teamwork and support of industry, government and suppliers such as BPW Transpec.

Throughout its long history dating back to 1882, family business, Chalmers Industries, has never been one to wait for others to break new ground and follow suit. Rather, the container cartage company works to lead the way in the industry.

State Manager of Queensland, Peter Cusack, who has been with Chalmers for 16 years, says he has seen Chalmers push the industry forward with new trailer combinations a number of times, including its introduction of Super B-doubles. “For the past 15 years, we’ve been using a quad-tri combination with a gross mass of 108-109 tonnes,” says Peter. “But with the growth in exports and containers getting heavier and heavier, we could see a future where it would no longer be efficient to cart two containers at a time on a quad-tri.”

According to Peter, exporters are feeling the same pinch in profit margins as much of the road transport industry, leading them to pack more and more cargo into their containers as possible to remain competitive.

“Containers used to weigh in at around 20 tonnes, but these days it’s more common for them to reach anywhere up to 30 tonnes,” he says.

To maximise the efficiency of container cartage on the short trip from the Port of Brisbane to the Chalmers depot at Fisherman Islands, the company has developed and certified its first 117-tonne quad quad Super B-double.
Peter says Chalmers worked with Andrew Rankin at the Port of Brisbane, Mick O’Phee from Drake Group business, O’Phee Trailers, and Geoff Huddy from equipment supplier, BPW Transpec, to design the combination. After a three- to four-month long development process, the combination was approved in August and given permission to get to work transporting heavy containers on their short journey.

“There are already quad-quads on the road, but they’re not permitted to carry 117 tonnes,” explains Peter. “We had to go through compliance with engineers from Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and the Port of Brisbane to get all the actual splits correct.”
To be able to handle the heavier weights, Peter says Chalmers required heavy-duty running gear that could carry the containers without any problems. “We chose BPW axles and suspension for the new combination, because we needed something reliable,” says Peter. “BPW is a proven product in the industry and especially with the extra tonnage, we wanted to make sure the gear would last the distance, even in the short term. BPW just ticks all the boxes.”

Now, Chalmers can legally, safely and efficiently move three heavy containers on the single route in and out of the Port of Brisbane. “While we’re only permitted to use the quad-quads in the Port of Brisbane, being able to cart three heavy containers on one truck is a huge gain for us,” says Peter. “We can now move a lot of containers very quickly.”

With the highly efficient combination hard at work, and a bridge currently under construction that will also accommodate the Super B-double arrangement, Peter says he expects more wharf carriers to follow Chalmers’ lead and investigate the 117-tonne quad-quad combination. “When you mention carrying more weight, red flags tend to go up,” says Peter. “We’re thankful that the Port of Brisbane could see the significance of where the industry is going, so we could get the right design to get maximum tonnage from our loads.”

Fast Fact
According to State Manager of Queensland, Peter Cusack, Chalmers Industries carts a few hundred full containers from the Port of Brisbane to its depot on Fisherman Islands daily.

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