ATA CEO Ben Maguire has called on the NSW and Australian governments to upgrade the Sheahan Bridge near Gundagai to improve the productivity and safety of Sydney’s supply chains.

Mr Maguire was responding to the NSW Government announcement of a new permit for High Productivity Freight Vehicles on the Hume Highway, to supply Sydney supermarkets with fewer truck trips.

“The ATA congratulates the NSW Government and Minister Paul Toole for recognising that High Productivity Freight Vehicles on the Hume Highway will keep freight flowing, keep supermarket shelves stocked and reduce the number of truck trips required to move the freight task,” Mr Maguire said.

“The new permit, allowing Ron Finemore Transport to supply the Woolworths distribution centre in western Sydney utilising modern High Productivity Freight Vehicles equipped with advanced safety technologies, illustrates how the trucking industry keeps our community supplied.

“Ron Finemore, a former ATA chair, is an industry leader in safety and use of fatigue and driver monitoring technology,”  said Maguire.

The new permit highlights the need to upgrade the Sheahan Bridge at Gundagai on the Hume Highway to allow for heavier loads to deliver productive supply chains for Sydney and reduce the number of truck trips.

“The ATA has been calling for the Sheahan Bridge to be upgraded, to allow wider use of more productive trucks on Australia’s busiest road freight corridor,” Mr Maguire said.

“The Hume Highway carries 40 per cent of Australia’s road freight task and supplies our two largest cities.

“The new permit shows what should be possible, moving freight to Sydney with fewer truck trips.

“A High Productivity Freight Vehicle 30 metre A-double can move a 1,000 tonne freight task in 21 truck trips, compared to 26 trips for a 26 metre B-double or 42 trips for a standard 19 metre semi-trailer,” Maguire said.

“Austroads, a government research body, have concluded that High Productivity Freight Vehicles are safer, use less fuel and offer significant economic benefits to a range of industries.

“Ron Finemore Transport illustrate that these vehicles are equipped with state-of-the-art safety technologies.

“These benefits to NSW and Sydney should be available widely, by upgrading the Sheahan Bridge and making the Hume Highway accessible to High Productivity Freight Vehicles for all supply chains,” he said.