Trailer Magazine

Higher productivity on the double

  • From the January 2020 issue.
Higher productivity on the double

Forward thinking businesses like Clenton’s Transport are embracing Performance-Based Standards for increased efficiencies. The company runs a number of Freighter A-doubles, capable of hauling two 40-foot containers per trip, delivering significant productivity gains.

While the process of gaining route approvals and other requirements involved with operating PBS equipment can appear to be complex, Jason Clenton, Managing Director of Clenton’s Transport, has quite the opposite story to tell.

The company was started around 15 years ago by Gregory Clenton, Jason’s Dad, with airfreight as the primary focus. Then eight years ago Jason came onboard and container haulage commenced, gradually supplanting the airfreight work over the ensuing years to the point where today the entire business revolves around container carting.

“When I joined the business, Dad was winding down with a view of retirement and was only operating one truck,” Jason says. “He was still active in the business up until January 2019 and was very proud of how we were able to grow the operation with the container work over the past eight years.”

Clenton’s Transport purchased the latest Freighter PBS-approved A-double combination from MaxiTRANS in New South Wales. Jason explains that the trailer manufacturer has been integral to the business from the word go.

“MaxiTRANS’ Dealership is located in Smeaton Grange (south-west Sydney) which is great for us because our depot is in the same suburb,” Jason relates. Adding that it provides him with quick and convenient access to sales, parts and servicing.

Clenton’s Transport has traditionally operated a range of light-weight and retractable Skels, but over the last six months the company has made the significant transition to 30-metre PBS-approved A-double combinations for the efficiency gains.

“We’ve been working closely with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and local road managers (councils) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to gain road access to a number of our major clients,” Jason explains.

“Upon working with MaxiTRANS and the relevant governing bodies, I realised very quickly that the initial outlay to set up the A-doubles would be recouped tenfold by the productivity gains.”

In fact, Jason believes he has recovered the set-up cost for the first A-double after just six months.

“We always wanted to move towards high-productivity freight vehicles and my first application to the NHVR was through the online portal which I found to be very intuitive and easy to navigate,” he says.

“When I first applied I wasn’t really looking for the ultra-high mass – I was thinking maybe 75 or 80 tonnes – so I was really surprised when they told me I could have 85 tonnes gross combination mass (GCM).

“With the assistance of MaxiTRANS and the NHVR, I was guided through the process and they assured me that if I did everything that was required with regards to mass management then I would get approval for 85 tonnes.”

As a result, Jason says his company was the first in New South Wales to be granted route approval for 85 tonne GCM 30-metre A-doubles from Port Botany to Smeaton Grange, a distance of about 60km.

An interesting feature of the latest Freighter A-double combination bought by Clenton’s Transport is the rigid drawbar  dolly.

Jason first heard about the benefits of a rigid drawbar dolly after seeing the converter dolly ‘proof of concept’ that was developed by MaxiTRANS in conjunction with the Australian Trucking Association. He goes on to describe this development as “absolutely amazing” in the way it makes the combination track much better while reducing the whip at the rear of the second trailer.

“Also, under braking it doesn’t nosedive like pivoting drawbar dollies can and it just makes the whole combination feel more like one trailer rather than two.”

He adds that these improvements are evident whether the trailers are empty or fully loaded and anywhere in between.

Summing up, Jason says he couldn’t be happier with the Freighter PBS-approved A-double combination that is adding significantly to the bottom line of his business.

“We wanted to be part of something new and fresh that hasn’t been done before and we’re definitely reaping the benefits from the investment.”

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