Trucking company enrolments in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) in New South Wales are likely to be much lower than expected, the Australian Trucking Association has warned.
The warning follows the recent meeting of the ATA Council, where some of Australia’s major trucking operators discussed the costs and benefits of enrolling in IAP.
Under IAP, trucking operators install tracking devices in their vehicles in return for better road access. The tracking devices are provided and monitored on a fee for service basis by companies accredited through Transport Certification Australia. From 1 July 2009, trucking operators in New South Wales will need to be enrolled in IAP to operate under Higher Mass Limits (HML) or use B-triples or AB-triples.
The chairman of the ATA, Trevor Martyn, said the warning was particularly important for technology companies who are in the queue to become accredited to provide tracking devices and monitoring services.
“Many of these companies have based their business plans on the number of trucking operators who have pre-enrolled for IAP in New South Wales,” Mr Martyn said.
“Under the pre-enrolment system, operators are able to keep operating under HML on their
existing routes while they make a fully informed business decision about the benefits of joining IAP.
“The ATA’s members, including a number of large operators, are starting to conclude that the costs of joining IAP are greater than the benefits.
“As a result, technology providers should not use the number of operators pre-enrolled for IAP as an indication of the size of the market for IAP services,” he said.
Mr Martyn said many trucking operators had already invested huge amounts of money in their own vehicle tracking systems.
“Those operators are now being asked to spend more money to install IAP units and then to pay a monthly fee to duplicate what their existing equipment does already. For many companies, the productivity gains just aren’t worth the cost.
“A second issue for trucking companies is that the NSW Government is not prepared to guarantee that IAP-enrolled operators will have access to the local roads they need to complete their journeys.
“An operator could spend tens of thousands of dollars to enrol in IAP, and then have no recourse if a local council refuses to let them use the last mile of road that may make the whole investment worthwhile,” he said.
Mr Martyn said the NSW Government’s approach to IAP would result in more trucks on the state’s roads.
“Under Higher Mass Limits, trucks with road friendly suspensions can safely carry 10-13 per cent more payload. The many trucking operators who do not plan to complete their IAP enrolment will need to use more trucks to carry the same amount of freight from 1 July 2009,” he said.
Mr Martyn urged the state government to withdraw its IAP requirement and instead accept that operators’ existing systems provide sufficient proof of compliance with the state’s road access rules.
“IAP was never intended to monitor high productivity vehicles or trucks operating under HML. The state government has adopted the technology because it is new and shiny, but it does not offer any real benefits,” Mr Martyn said.
However, the only currently certified supplier of equipment and software under the IAP, TransTech, said it expects take-up to increase as the mandated dates come closer. “We are already installing the system on several fleets,” a spokesman told T&Lnews. “We have had to double our staff, and by the end of the financial year, we anticipate a further two hundred or so companies will come on board.”