Changes to PBS scheme to benefit industry, says trailer manufacturer

Tipper trailer manufacturer Hercules believes changes to the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme recently approved by ministers will result in a range of benefits for the heavy vehicle industry and the wider community.

Tipper trailer manufacturer Hercules believes changes to the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme recently approved by ministers will result in a range of benefits for the heavy vehicle industry and the wider community.

“The changes to the way road access is managed (utilising the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator) will definitely be a benefit for industry as it will save a lot of time and effort negotiating access with roads authorities,” said Hercules Sales Manager, Kevin Wright.

“Encouraging more operators to use higher productivity trucks will also benefit the community by slowing down the increasing amount of trucks on our roads.”

The changes to the scheme approved by ministers include:

  • Moving to a system of national vehicle assessment and access decisions for PBS vehicles utilising the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (previously operators would have to negotiate access with each road manager)
  • Developing a system of modular assessment for PBS combination vehicles to allow operators to use a range of prime-movers in front of the trailer as long as they have been PBS approved to match the trailer specifications
  • Offering the option for manufacturer self-certification, which will remove the requirement for manufacturers to employ a third party to certify each vehicle.

As well as an overall $5.6 billion in savings to the local economy, encouraging the use of more innovative and productive heavy vehicles is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.75 million tonnes and save over 85 lives by 2030.

Hercules utilises the PBS scheme to manufacture 3, 4, and 5-axle tipper dog combinations which gives customers in the grain and quarry industries a market advantage by allowing them to carry extra payload, without comprising safety.

“The decision to utilise the Performance Based Standards scheme was driven by our customers. The payload increase on our 3 axle combination is 4.5 tonnes, and 7 tonnes on our 4 axle combination. That’s a huge productivity benefit,” Wright said.

The PBS scheme has been in operation since 2007, but industry participation in the scheme has been limited by problems in gaining certainty of road network access and a lack of operational flexibility.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) conducted extensive consultation with industry and governments on the proposed changes which were approved by transport ministers from the Standing Committee on Transport and Infrastructure in March.

The changes are detailed in a Regulatory Impact Statement and will be incorporated in an amendment bill to the Heavy Vehicle National Law which is expected to go to ministers in March 2012.

The changes to the scheme will then come into effect when the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator becomes operational in 2013.

[Image: A PBS vehicle with a body and trailer manufactured by Hercules. Sourced: NTC]