Rail Transport in Australia Then and Now

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Rail transport is perhaps not something that is talked about a great deal anymore due to the variety of other freight options so readily available, like air and road. Rail transport is actually one of the most safe and reliable forms of transport and in many cases the most economical. A heavy pallet delivery which is not urgent, for example, could potentially be added to a rail consignment at a reasonable price. Obviously, it does have its limitations, but all forms of transport do have a number of disadvantages. Air freight can be notoriously expensive, and transporting goods by road can also leave you reliant on favourable traffic conditions en route to see your goods arrive in a timely manner at their destination. As such, pallet shipping rates will vary, depending on several factors, including the mode of transport being used.

Over 33,000 Kilometres of Track

Australia’s rail network is vast and according to Wikipedia consists of over 33,000km of track. This had its humble beginnings back in the 1800s where for example in 1854, the first steam train between Melbourne and Port Melbourne started operating. You might wonder how Australia functioned prior to building up its expansive rail network. Before rail transport was established, the most common form of transport consisted of transport by sea, or across land by horse drawn carriage.

Consequences of Lack of Planning

The rail network progressed at various rates of development in the different colonies of Australia and very much independently of each other. Due to a combination of a short-sighted vision of the future of Australian rail, and a failure to listen to advice from London, it resulted in different gauges of rail being used in the fledgling states. This caused decades of problems for transport of both people and goods between the different states. It became clearly apparent during the war years when the differences in track width hampered the speed at which goods and troops could be moved across Australia.

Some of the disadvantages associated with the development of rail transport was the enormous initial cost of construction and maintenance.

Type of Trains in Rail Transport

The earliest carriages on tracks were actually drawn by horses and this mode of transport did in fact continue after the introduction of the steam train, especially in city areas where pollution was a problem. Nowadays there are still some steam trains in operation around the world. The steam train, Puffing Billy, in Victoria is still operated daily and is a hugely popular tourist attraction for both children and adults alike. It is run by a tireless team of around 900 volunteers. Other types of trains are electric and diesel-powered trains.

Coal Transport by Rail

In New South Wales, rail transport is an integral part of the coal industry in the Hunter valley, with trains transporting coal from the open cut mines in the region all the way to the port of Newcastle. Coal production in general has been a hotly debated topic amongst locals in the regional towns surrounding the mines. Air quality, an increase in heavy vehicle traffic and the pollution of the water supply are just some of the complaints from local residents. Despite all the precautionary measures the mines take to reduce dust, like employing water carts to wet the dusty haul roads, they never completely eliminate the dust caused by all the machinery on the various mine sites.

Goulburn’s Freight Potential Not What Some Thought

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The Goulburn Post has reported that Goulburn Council’s planning department has recommended that “no further action or strategies be pursued to develop the freight and logistics sector.”

This conclusion comes on the back of a report specifically commissioned by the council, into the logistics and freight sector. The study, which reportedly cost just shy of $20,000, mentioned that Goulburn’s 200km distances from Sydney was a significant factor contributing  to the conclusion.

The article quoted council general manager Warwick Bennet saying that several factors cited in the report prompted GHD to conclude that if the sector had economic potential, it would have attracted “very keen” investment by now. Mr Bennet pointed out among other things that there didn’t seem to be any need for it in the Goulburn region.

Read the full and original article here..

Medical Courier vs General Road Courier

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You may have seen cars driving around with a sign saying “Urgent Blood” and the logo of a healthcare organisation such as a pathology clinic. Most likely, it would be driven by a medical courier. The job of a medical courier, or a pathology courier, is similar and yet somewhat different to a general road courier or delivery driver.

Types of Employment

While couriers are generally employed by courier or delivery companies, or are self-employed subcontractors, medical couriers would most likely be employed by a healthcare organisation. It is very common for organisations such as hospitals and pathology providers to operate at more than one location, and medical couriers often transport items from one location to another within the organisation. This contrasts with a general courier, whose work could take them all over the place, picking up and delivering goods from many different sorts of locations.

Types of Deliveries

Couriers in general can deliver just about anything, from documents to goods ordered online. Time is of the essence for them as they will often be paid per delivery; so the more deliveries they can make, the better they will be paid. In most cases the customer is paying for fast delivery as a convenience. However, when working as a medical courier, timely delivery can literally make the difference between life and death for a patient, or at least affect their recovery.

For example, a patient may have a blood test at a pathology collection service to determine the cause of their illness. The medical courier may need to transport the blood sample to a laboratory for testing. Obviously the quicker the treating health professionals receive the blood test result, the quicker appropriate treatment can begin.

Transporting such pathology samples would generally form the bulk of the workload of a medical courier. They could also pick up blood donations and deliver them to where they will be needed. Pathology samples and other such items usually need to be kept cool or refrigerated, and delivery vehicles will have insulated coolers or fridges for this purpose. The expression “cold chain” is used in this context to mean that the items are kept cool the entire time, and this is the responsibility of the medical courier during the pick-up and delivery process. The items are often fragile and need to be handled with care, following instructions given.

Challenges Facing Road Couriers

Both general and medical couriers face the daily challenge of traffic. Peak hour, roadwork and car accidents can greatly increase the time needed for pick-ups and deliveries. Some of these can be planned for, whereas others may be totally unexpected. As mentioned above, a delay for a medical courier is not only inconvenient, but can affect the health of patients whose pathology samples are being transported. In addition, any delay or other incident such as a faulty refrigerator that leads to a breakdown in the “cold chain” could have an adverse effect on the samples meaning the tests may need to be repeated.

Importance of Medical Couriers

In addition to the responsibilities of a general courier, medical couriers play an often-overlooked role in patient health.

Kenworth Trucks – Quality and Profitability

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Kenworth, the name brings to mind immaculately presented prime movers, cruising along the highway, hauling multi combination trailers. Kenworth is synonymous with quality and profitability not to mention chrome bull bars and glistening paintwork.

The origin of the brand name Kenworth is quite simply the combination of the surnames of two of the business partners who reincorporated the business back in 1923. Their names were Harry Kent and Edward K. Worthington. Many people are unaware of the fact that Kenworth also built buses and coaches right up until the middle of the 1950s, before they succumbed to the high demand of heavy truck orders and resorted to focussing primarily on trucks.

Over 60,000 Trucks Produced in Australia

Since 1971, when the first Kenworth rolled off the production line in Australia, over 60,000 Kenworth trucks have been produced, and according to Kenworth, an astounding 70% of these trucks are still on the road today. This is testament to their high quality and the vision of the brand to build to a standard capable of handling Australia’s harsh conditions over hundreds of thousands of kilometres. Kenworth employs over 1000 people in Melbourne alone, the majority of employees being involved in the manufacturing operations.

Market Leader in the Truck Industry

Kenworth is today a market leader in trucks and has a vast range of models in their current range, varying from the classic bonneted models through to the cab over variants. The T610SAR is an example of Kenworth’s brilliant workmanship and engineering – an absolutely stunning truck proudly designed and built in Australia. Kenworth is proud of the fact that this is one of the most aerodynamic and fuel efficient trucks it has ever produced. It is powered by the renowned Cummins X15 Euro V engine which has Advanced Dynamic Efficient Powertrain (ADEPT) technology and pushes out a formidable 600hp.

Safety Features and Driver Comfort

Kenworth’s popularity in the Australian market is due to a number of factors including their reliability and durability over long periods of time. They also have a vast array of safety features as well as a high focus on driver comfort. This is crucial when considering the enormous distances needing to be covered in Australia, whether it’s working as a container transport truck or pulling other loads, and the harsh weather and road conditions drivers are often faced with.

The Kenworth C510 is a perfect example of a rugged truck designed to handle the most extreme conditions of Australia’s mining industry. It is fitted with a powerful 19 litre engine and its cooling system is purpose built to comfortably handle the 50 degree temperatures commonly experienced in these areas.

Ongoing High Demand for Kenworth Trucks

With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why Kenworth trucks remain in high demand. Not only do they design and produce quality trucks, but they have the aftermarket service to keep the trucks on the road and their customers happy. Through PACCAR Assist, they are able to offer around the clock roadside assistance, seven days a week. In Australia alone there are 57 parts dealerships. With this kind of support network it’s no surprise that Kenworth’s popularity is not showing any signs of waning.

Time to Invest in Your Own Delivery Vehicle?

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Couriers and transport companies play a vital role in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer economy, picking up and delivering goods usually for a fraction of what it would cost the business to make the deliveries themselves. If you’re in the business of shipping out goods regularly to your customers (e.g. you are an online retailer) and the volume of your deliveries is increasing, then there may come a day when investing in your own delivery vehicle and employing a driver would result in a reduced cost overall.

However, before taking the plunge and splurging out on a new van, ute or truck, it’s important to take a good hard look at the characteristics of your deliveries, as this will provide some helpful pointers and enable you to make a smart and informed decision. This article describes some of the main things to consider.

Total Cost of Outsourced Deliveries VS Cost of Owning a Vehicle

If your total deliveries cost on an annual basis (i.e. the amount you’re being charged by the courier or freight companies you use) is not much more than the maintenance, insurance, registration and depreciation expenses on owning a vehicle, then it’s very unlikely that investing in a vehicle will pay off. However even if your freight costs are astronomical, and far exceed the combined costs listed above, there are still a couple more questions you need to ask yourself.

Could it be Worth Obtaining a Freight Quote from Another Transport Company?

Perhaps your current freight company is charging you more than its competitors. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to contact a couple of transport companies and request a freight quote, or estimate, based on your typical transport needs. If the prices are vastly different you have every right to switch. Having a conversation with your current transport company, informing them of your intention to switch, could mean they offer you better value for money.

Are the Outgoing Consignments Similar – or Vastly Different?

Let’s say you run a flat-pack furniture business out of a warehouse in Adelaide, and most of your customers are in the Adelaide and surrounds region. Assuming that most of your outgoing orders will easily fit into a small van, then as your business grows, there may come a day when it will be cheaper to buy a van and employ a driver, for the simple reason that this one delivery vehicle, will be able to accommodate practically all your outgoing shipments. Conversely if you are in the business of reselling all types of building materials – where the outgoing consignments might range from some buckets of paint and a few brushes, to multiple pallets of cement or 6m lengths of timber – – then the case for investing in a delivery vehicle might be hard to make.

Whatever your situation, make sure that your decision is based on sound logic and that all the relevant costs are factored into your calculations.

Options for Moving Freight

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Freight Quote sometimes gets enquiries from customers wanting to know the best way of shipping their items. The truth is that there is no one best method to transporting goods, as it comes down to what is most valuable to the customer at the time. It’s not uncommon to hear people who work with freight on a daily basis saying how much they love it because it’s so varied. This purpose of this article is to show customers that there are different ways to transport goods from A to B and suggests ways that they may be able to save on their shipping costs.

Door to Door Deliveries for Convenience

Very often the most convenient way to ship items is to have them picked up from the point of origin and delivered right to the door of the recipient’s home or business. This is referred to as door to door freight and while it can be a big time and effort saver, it might also be the most expensive option, depending on the location.

Taking Your Consignment to the Depot

Some transport companies will give you the option of bringing your goods to a central depot, where they will take over the delivery. This may save the company significant resources in terms of logistics, organisation and driving time and they are likely to pass these savings on to you. If you have the time and means, find out if there is a cheaper option than having the shipment picked up from your home or business. A depot to depot delivery is also an option, but is not as common.

Packaging Your Items Securely

Regardless of whether you opt for door to door or depot to depot freight, there are certain things to always consider. One of the most important things to remember is appropriate packaging for your goods. Items to be transported will always be subject to a certain amount of handling, so adequate packaging provides protection for the items. Additionally, poorly packaged goods could potentially break open in transit and if the company has to spend time sorting through broken boxes and spilled goods, it could result in demurrage fees being incurred.

Allow a Generous Time Frame

Whether you are dropping off goods at a depot or have arranged for the consignment to be picked up from your home or business, it’s always recommended where at all possible that you leave yourself a decent margin to prepare or drop off the shipment. By cutting it too fine, you can risk not having the items ready for pick up in time. While this may not seem like a big deal, making a courier wait for you or, even worse, sending them away and rescheduling the pickup, usually ends up in demurrage fees being charged and you’ll simply end up paying more. By not making it to the depot on time, you risk the truck leaving without your goods, causing significant delays to your shipment.

Points to Remember:

  • Find out if you can save a few dollars by driving your shipment to a nearby depot
  • Always package your items securely
  • Leave yourself enough time to prepare your goods for pickup to avoid delays and demurrage

Working as a Truck Driver – It’s a Lifestyle

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Truck drivers provide essential services to Australian industries. They earn their living by moving goods and materials across land and typically drive between retail outlets and distribution centres. Being a truck driver is more of a lifestyle than a typical job and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some drivers travel across the entire country, others provide interstate shipping container transport while some drive locally. Long distance truck drivers can be gone for weeks at a time. For people who love the open spaces, who enjoy spending time on their own and loathe being stuck in one place for too long, trucking could be a great career.

Skills a Truck Driver Should Have

A truck driver is not expected to be a mechanic, but he driver should know how to connect/disconnect the trailer from the cab and know some basic repair skills like changing a tyre. Usually the company has heavy-vehicle roadside assistance that can be sent to the truck’s location if the driver is unable to to a repair shop or a truck stop safely.

Driving a big and potentially fully loaded truck is totally different from driving a small car. A truck weighs 20 to 30 times more than a car. Truck drivers have to use good driving techniques for steep hills so the brakes do not overheat. They also need to know how to drive safely around curves without the load inside moving around. A truck has many gears in the transmission; commonly ten forward drive gears and two reverse gears, and some have up to 18 gears.

Long Hours for the Aussie Truck Driver

Drivers have many duties to fulfil and are responsible for their cargo and their truck, which must be in good and safe working order. They have to get their shipments to the destination on time and it is their responsibility to check that they have the correct goods on board and that they end up in the right hands. Truck drivers work exceptionally long hours and it is not at all unusual for a driver to work 70 hours per week. Truck drivers have to be prepared to work any hours of the day or night, and as a result they have quite an irregular sleep schedule.

Log Books and Regular Rest Periods

Truck drivers have mandated rest periods to make sure they are fit to drive and are expected to keep a record of their hours in a logbook. These laws protect the drivers themselves and other road users from accidents associated with fatigue. Although meeting tight deadlines may seem to be the only thing that matters to the driver in the moment, arriving alive could arguably be just as important. It is also important for the health of the drivers that they get enough quality sleep.

Where do Truck Drivers sleep?

Most long-haul truck drivers sleep in their sleeper cab, which is a little nook with a twin sized bed in it. They typically pull over at rest areas, truck stops or a sender or receiver’s property. Some drivers will sleep at a motel as they prefer to be away from their truck for a few hours.

Getting stuck behind a truck can be frustrating for smaller vehicles who are keen to be on their way, but as the saying goes, without trucks Australia stops.

4 Tips on How to Ship Big Items

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When you need to transport bulky, heavy, or oversized goods, you want to find an affordable and reliable shipping company. People who work regularly within the shipping industry have an advantage in that they know the ins and outs of the system. They know how it operates, what’s reasonable and what’s not. On the other hand, if you haven’t had any associations with freight transport and need some big items transported it can be difficult to know where to start and who you can trust. This article provides some helpful guidelines on how to go about engaging a freight company to transport your goods for you.

1. Know the Details About What You Are Shipping

Before you contact any shipping companies or obtain any quotes, it’s good to have written down detailed descriptions of your goods. Transporters need to know the size of their consignments to plan the most safe and efficient method of pick up and delivery, so they will guaranteed ask you about the dimensions and weight of your goods. You will also need your pick up and delivery addresses, and often a contact phone number. You should also note down a few pick up and delivery days, where possible, and time slots that will work for you. Deliveries with very little flexibility in terms of timing typically become quite expensive.

2. Shop Around for a Competitive Quote

When you have all the information you need, contact a few different transport companies. Make sure you talk to them, as this can give you an idea of the kind of people you are dealing with. Remember, you are entrusting them with your cargo, and you want to assure yourself that they will take good care of it and deliver as promised. Where possible, take your time when deciding who to engage. It doesn’t hurt to do a quick reference check by looking up online reviews on the company. And remember, the cheapest company is not always the best one!

3. Provide Comprehensive and Accurate Information

When you have chosen a shipping company, contact them directly with any questions, concerns or additional details you may have regarding your consignment. If you can provide them with a comprehensive and accurate picture of the freight you are more likely to experience a smooth pick up and drop off. Some people try to obtain a cheaper quote by making their goods out to be smaller or lighter than they actually are. This often leads to disputes and additional charges and is never recommended. Make sure you double check the agreed pick up and delivery times to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings and potential delays.

4. Prepare and Package Your Goods

Make sure you package your items appropriately so that they stay intact throughout their journey. Have your items ready to be picked up well in advance and make sure the courier has clear access to them. If you have any further questions on how to ship big items, contact the friendly team at Freight Quote.

Support from Australian Government to Amend Coastal Trading Bill

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The Australian Government has indicated that it supports recommendations by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee to pass the Coastal Trading amendment bill before parliament.

Simplifying Coastal Trading Regulation and Red Tape

The bill would remove the five-voyage minimum requirement to apply for a temporary licence, streamline the processes for making changes to temporary licences by creating a single variation process, amend voyage notification requirements so notifications are only required when voyage details have changed from those approved on the licence, and amend the tolerance provisions for temporary licence voyages to better reflect industry practice.

Expand Coverage of the Coastal Trading Act

The bill would amend the definition of coastal trading to encompass voyages commencing and concluding at the same port, ships engaged in dry-docking and include voyages between ports and other defined places in Australian waters such as offshore facilities.

Provide Clarity on Technical Issues and Reduce Administrative Impact

The bill would also make minor technical amendments to several definitions in the Coastal Trading Act that require clarification to assist with administration. Additionally, it would require temporary licence holders to provide a vessel’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number to assist with easy identification of vessels and finally it would allow for temporary licences to be issued in emergency situations.

Decision Welcomed by Ports Australia

Ports Australia chief executive Mike Gallacher believes that the nation needs a coastal shipping reform and that the issue is gaining momentum and he welcomed the decision of the Government to support the amended bill. He said that using the ocean is a smart way of keeping costs associated with freight Australia down and that this will contribute towards the lowest possible cost of living.

“Coastal Shipping will benefit Australians both regionally and in the city, the reform has the support of both business and now also government.

“If the cost of living in Australia is going to stay as low as possible across the board then we need to look at smart reforms that reduce red tape and allow business small and large to provide consumers with more for less.

“Coastal shipping is a smart reform, it will open up our blue highway which costs nothing to build, run or maintain allowing Australia’ supply chain to be more flexible and carry more capacity for less.

“The reforms are a step in the right direction but there is more work to be done before the full benefits of coastal shipping and Australia’s blue highway can be realised for Australians.

Gallacher finished by saying “It is our hope that now with the governments support the Senate can look at the merits of this reform for the supply chain and the benefits it will bring for Australians and pass these amendments without delay.”

Strong Opposition from the Labor Party

The response from the Labor Party made it clear that they oppose the amended bill altogether.

“The bill currently before the Parliament will only accelerate the industry’s decline, eventually consigning Australia’s status as a proud maritime nation to the history pages,” said the opposition response. “That would be an unbelievable development given we are an island continent, almost all of our imports and exports are transported in the hull of ships, and even more significantly, a tenth of global sea trade flows through our ports.”

Fast Courier Quote Australia Wide Essential with E-Commerce

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All over the world economic analysts are noting rising trends in online shopping. More and more people prefer to buy things online instead of the traditional method of visiting the stores. There are many benefits and advantages associated with online shopping and convenience is perhaps the biggest drawcard. Being able to do your shopping in the middle of the night from the comfort of your pyjamas is certainly an advantage to consumers who perhaps find themselves unable to get to the mall before closing time. Online shopping advocates typically refer to better prices, wider range and readily available reviews and price comparisons. In many online stores, shipping from manufacturer to consumer is a well-oiled process, but this is not always the case.

Save Money with Online Shopping

It can be cheaper to buy goods online for a number of reasons. Not only do customers potentially save on petrol, parking, eating out and impulse buys, but the products themselves can also be a lot cheaper online. Often the products go straight from the manufacture to the consumer, without the need for a middle man. In some parts of the world, online stores are only required to pay a sales tax if they have a physical location. These amounts are usually incorporated into the overall price meaning that the omission of the tax results in real savings.

Having Systems in Place for Smoother Transactions

In the world of online shopping a well organised delivery system is essential. Customers finalise their purchases, provide a street address and expect their items to be delivered within a given time frame. At the other end, there is no need for the seller to maintain an attractive physical shop front; a warehouse will often be sufficient. And in some cases, the sellers don’t even stock a single item themselves. They are simple a go-between, matching up merchants with consumers and taking their share of the profit. All this, however, is a trade off for providing consistently reliable shipping services, and it only takes a few mistakes for the store to lose favour with their customers.

Optional Delivery or Pick-Up

Some online stores offer a pick-up option with their products and customers looking to save a few extra dollars might opt for organising the collection of their recent purchases. GraysOnline is the largest industrial and commercial online auction business in Australasia and has pick-up points spread out across Australia. There is, however, a catch that customers should be aware of. GraysOnline states that:

“It’s very important that items are picked up as per the advertised pickup timetable. If you are not sure if you can pick up an item, please arrange for someone else to pick it up, book a courier … or do not bid on said item(s).”

They then go on to explain why customers should think twice about bidding for pick-up sales:

“This is because if you do not pick up your item within the stated timeframe your goods will then be deemed abandoned.”

Need Bulky Items Collected from GraysOnline?

Freight Quote receives a lot of requests relating to purchases from GraysOnline. Sometimes customers have had every intention of picking up their items, but are prevented by circumstances outside of their control. Freight Quote simply requires the winner’s email, along with written authorisation, photo ID and assurance that the items are packaged adequately to arrange the pick up and delivery. Need items picked up from GraysOnline? Contact us today for a fast courier quote Australia wide!