Fewer trucks will be driving between the newly opened Coleambally Rice Mill and Tocumwal, because of an innovative new transport strategy.
Specially designed prime movers with tri-axle dollies and ‘‘road friendly suspension’’ will cart rice between the mill and the rail connection in the Southern Riverina.
The strategy was developed by Deniliquin Freighters, in conjunction with the NSW Government.
The design changes to the prime movers means the amount of rice being carted between the Coleambally Rice Mill and Tocumwal in any one load can be increased.
It in turn reduces the number of trips needed between the two towns and sea freight costs because there are fewer containers to be moved.
And Deniliquin Freighters owner Russell Tait said it also achieves the NSW Government’s goal of reducing the number of trucks on the roads.
The new prime movers were unveiled at the official reopening of the Coleambally Rice Mill on Friday and are expected to be put to use by next week.
A special guest at the reopening was NSW Roads and Transport Minister Duncan Gay, who approved the innovative new transport strategy.
‘‘We went through a lot of negotiation, going through a number of different departments with the Roads and Maritime Services, for about 15 months,’’ Mr Tait said.
‘‘SunRice were looking for a solution to be able to maximise container loading.
‘‘We worked with SunRice staff, Minister Gay and his staff, and this (the prime movers) is the end result.
‘‘When we presented this strategy face-to-face, the attitude from the minister’s office was that they were keen to try and find a way to make it work.’’
Mr Tait said the $1.5 million invested in the project will be worth the savings in the end.
He said the two prime movers will operate about 18 to 20 hours each day, between the mill and the rail link in Tocumwal, and the tri-axle dolly design allows the trucks to carry heavier loads.
‘‘It allows SunRice to maximise loading in containers,’’ Mr Tait said.
‘‘Instead of leaving them only 80 per cent full, they can fill them to 100 percent.
‘‘They can now carry about 88 tonne instead of 79 tonne.’’
At Friday’s opening, Mr Gay applauded the transport strategy and took great delight in introducing it to the gathered crowd.
‘‘I was delighted to approve a proposal from Deniliquin Freighters to operate a purpose-built road train comprised of a tri-axle drive prime mover; the first of its type in NSW,’’ Mr Gay said.
‘‘This clever truck design will allow the transport of containerised rice on approved routes from the mills at Coleambally and Deniliquin to the rail head at Tocumwal.
‘‘It will be permitted to carry up to 86 tonnes at General Mass Limits and 88 tonnes at Concessional Mass Limits.
‘‘The increased masses allow Deni Freighters to achieve up to a 20 per cent increase in payload for each road trip.
‘‘This represents a significant transport cost saving each year and will allow SunRice to maximise the use of the Coleambally to Tocumwal rail terminal road leg, enabling the efficient transportation of rice for export.
‘‘Importantly, it’s a great example of delivering an integrated freight solution for the Riverina rice industry.’’
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