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DOWN UNDER TRUCKING: Australia's Brutal String Of Trucking Accidents


A spate of deadly trucking-related accidents has taken place around Australia over the last week. Truck rollovers were a major contributor to the death toll. There was also a range of other tragic accidents involving moving vehicles. In other Down Under Trucking news, a criminal trucker gets years in jail for killing another driver; hill descent apps; Freightways buys Big Chill. 

Truckers, Pedestrians, Drivers, Animals Killed Around Australia In Brutal String Of Accidents

A 39-year old truck and trailer driver died on Monday, November 4, after his truck somehow rolled right over onto its roof, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. It reported highway police as saying that the truck and semi-trailer left the road from the left lane (Australia drives on the left), hit crash barriers, traversed down a 10-foot embankment and ultimately rolled over onto its roof about 20 meters (65.62 feet) from the road. The truck driver is thought to have died instantly.

A hydraulic ramp crushed to death a man in Sydney on Wednesday, November 6, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The 57-year old was unloading vehicles from a truck when he was fatally struck by the falling hydraulic ramp.

Also on November 6, a man died and two elderly women were airlifted in serious condition to a local hospital, after a vehicle/truck collision in the mid-morning on the Glenelg Highway. Further details were not reported by broadcaster 9 News.

A truck driver was airlifted to hospital with chest and knee injuries after his truck rolled over about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 7, the Canberra Times reported. The southbound truck rolled near a turn-off with the Hume Highway. A second truck driver was treated on-site for minor injuries but was not hospitalized.

A woman has died and a man has been seriously injured in a truck/car smash near the Australian city of Adelaide, according the South Australian Police. The 72-year old woman died at the scene, which happened at the crossroads of the Augusta and Copper Coast highways. The 82-year old man was hospitalized in serious condition. The 51-year old truck driver was not injured. Images broadcast by the ABC appear to show a bonneted rig in B-Double configuration (a prime mover attached to two semi trailers) run off the road and a small white family hatchback that appears to have been struck on the right-hand side by the truck driver.

A professional truck driver of 45 years has been jailed for "at least" three years after he caused the death of a man in an oncoming car, according to broadcaster 9 News. Jeffery Bates, 65, decided to take his hands off the steering wheel to screw the lid on a bottle of fizzy drink. His truck/trailer rig in a B-Double combination traveled over a grass strip four lanes in width before it hit an oncoming utility vehicle. A passenger in that vehicle, Tyson Fardy, aged in his early 20s, was killed.

Many sheep have been killed or injured after a livestock hauling trucker lost control of his B-Double on a corner early this week, according to the Central Western Daily. The truck rolled. The driver was uninjured and declined help from paramedics. Many of the sheep had to be euthanized later.

The jury in criminal trial of a company accused of having serviced a fuel tanker that killed three people has been unexpectedly discharged at the last minute. Citing an "11th hour issue of legal significance," the judge dismissed the jury immediately prior to it retiring to consider a verdict. The jury had been hearing the trial of Victoria-based Heavy Mechanics for 10 days.

The company had been charged by the local health and safety regulator for failing to ensure that people had not been exposed to risk. It was alleged that the company had serviced the fuel tanker's towing components before the trailer broke away while it was being driven in a rural area. The runaway trailer hit two vehicles. Lisa Turner, 33, and her son, Jack, 4, were both killed.

Meanwhile, an infamous bridge in the Australian city of Melbourne, the Montague Street Bridge, has been struck by a truck once again, according to the local news channel, 7 News. The bridge has a three-meter (9.84 foot) clearance. The bridge is somewhat infamous in Australia as it has been hit by trucks over and over again despite being well sign-posted as a low-clearance bridge.

And, finally, truck drivers in the Australian Outback are calling for governments to overhaul rural road signs, saying that the highways are littered with disused and broken road signs, according to the national broadcaster, the ABC. The broadcaster has published pictures of damaged road signs flat at the side of rural roads. Several rural truckers report seeing broken signs at the side of roads throughout the country. Traffic management experts comment that, although it is not easy to keep road signs in place given the vast Australian road network, nonetheless it is important for signs to be in correct order. One expert, Ashim Debnath of Deakin University, called for "serious penalties" to be imposed on contractors when signs are found to be non-conforming. Dr. Debnath also called for independent surprise audits on the state of signs.

Government Agency Announced Second Certified Service Provider

Transport Certification Australia, a government agency, has announced that TCS is the second certified provider for its Hill Descent Monitoring (HDM) system.

The HDM application monitors the speed of heavy vehicles as they drive down hills and it can indicate if a driver has performed appropriate safety checks.

Dennis Turner, the Head of Operations at MTData/TCS, said, "We are delighted to become certified by TCA to offer the new HDM application."

The Hill Descent Monitoring Application is part of the National Telematics Framework, which is a digital platform and rule-set to support the national adoption of telematics and intelligent frameworks.

Freightways To Buy Major Cold Chain Trucking Company

Auckland-based Freightways (NZX: FRE), a specialized logistics and courier company, has announced that it will acquire Big Chill Distribution, a trucking operation that specializes in hauling chilled and frozen fast-moving consumer goods.

Headquartered in Auckland, Big Chill is present in eight further locations across New Zealand. Big Chill operates a fleet of over 200 temperature-controlled trucks and trailers and it delivered more than two million shipments in 2018. Big Chill operates 11,000 square meters (118,403 square feet) of purpose-built depots across New Zealand and engages over 370 full-time staff and contractors.

In a presentation on the transaction, Freightways laid out the acquisition rationale. Freightways noted that Big Chill is a market leader in temperature-controlled transport with a "growing presence" in cold storage. Freightways added that Big Chill's market is an attractive growing industry supported by consumer trends and demand for frozen and chilled products. Freightways added that, as fresh food is a necessity, it exhibits "resilience to economic cycles". The buyer added that the Big Chill acquisition will diversify Freightways' earnings base. The transaction is also said to be financially accretive.

The existing management of Big Chill will be retained.

Freightways will buy 100% of the shares of Big Chill with completion of the purchase expected in the first half of 2020. The buyer will make an initial payment of NZ$117 million ($74.48 million) which is 80% of an agreed enterprise value for Big Chill. The final payment will occur in 2022, representing 20% of Big Chill's enterprise value as of June 30, 2022. That final payment will be calculated according to Earnings Before Interest and Taxation at a "multiple based on the growth in EBIT achieved for the 15 months ending 30 June 2021... compared to the financial year ending 31 March 2020."

The initial payment represents a multiple of 7.9 times enterprise value based on the expected earnings from Big Chill in the first 12 months of Freightways' ownership.

Big Chill started with a single truck in 1996 under the name of BOP Cool Transport and it shipped pies between the nearby cities of Auckland and Tauranga. Big Chill grew via "a string of successful acquisitions."

Image by Jeff Chabot from Pixabay


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