The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has launched a survey to investigate how the use of A-trailers has changed in the past three years.
‘A’ or lead trailers are the first trailer behind the prime mover in a B-double combination, and are also used in other truck and trailer combinations. Since 2007, the national charge for registering a tri-axle B-double A-trailer has increased from $1065 to $6372 per year.
ATA’s Chief Executive Stuart St Clair said that some trucking operators were parking up their B-doubles and going back to using semitrailers, because of the high registration charges on A-trailers. “The high registration charges have also caused financial problems for small trucking companies, because they do not have the cashflow to pay such a large amount as a single lump sum,” Mr St Clair said.
“The ATA’s lead trailer survey aims to get the latest information on whether operators have increased or decreased their use of B-doubles – and why. We will use the results of the survey to lobby for fair registration charges for all trucking operators,” he said.
Mr St Clair also mentioned that a decline in the use of B-doubles would raise safety concerns. “Research by Australia’s major truck insurer, National Transport Insurance, has found that B-doubles carry 43.4 per cent of the articulated road freight task but only account for 21.8 per cent of major accidents,” he said. “A move back to using more semi-trailers would have the potential to lead to more accidents, because there would be more trucks on the road. In addition, B-doubles are safer by design than traditional semitrailers.”
A B-double consists of a prime mover, an ‘A’ or lead trailer, and a standard semitrailer linked by turntables. Two B-doubles can carry slightly more freight than three semitrailers.
The ATA survey is open to all trucking operators who have owned or leased ‘A’ trailers since 1 January 2007. The ATA will publish the results of the survey in early 2011.