Articulated registration fall blamed on B-double fee hike


Freight vehicle numbers still increase except for part of articulated sector

By Rob McKay | February 2, 2011

Registrations of lighter articulated trucks have plunged, with one industry association blaming the increase of fees for B-double trucks.

The trajectory is still up broadly for truck and light commercial vehicle registrations, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today show.

The recent economic downturn may have taken the edge off demand but, as of the end of last year, the appetite for freight vehicles has not gone backwards generally in the past five years.

The ABS gave figures for 2005, 2009 and 2010 in its Motor Vehicle Census.

The respective figures for trucks were:

· Articulated - 69,723, 81,217 and 82,436

· Heavy rigid - 279,752, 310,939 and 315,435

· Light rigid - 88,768, 110,763 and 115,843

· Light commercial - 2,030,254, 2,371,082 and 2,460,568

But against the trend totally was the 20-40 gross combination mass (gcm) vehicles sector.

These were recorded for the respective years at 8,983, 7,141 and 6,731.

In the 3-20 gcm range, the fall between 2009 and 2010 was 771 to 729.

South Australian Road Transport Association Executive Director Steve Shearer has told the ABC that a fall that he put at 70 per cent was attributable directly to a 75 per cent rise in registration costs for B-doubles.

Shearer predicted the cost of price-sensitive exports would soar as a result of more, lighter combinations that carry less being registered.

"The economy will suffer all because governments didn’t listen because they had a theoretical economic model about B-double registration fees," he says.

"What they should do is go back to having cheaper registration for B-doubles to encourage us to use a much less number of B-doubles to move the same amount of freight."

He had not returned ATN’s call by deadline today.

Those hoping for a revolution in alternatively fuelled vehicles as the unit of choice have cause for only muted optimism from the figures, especially in the bigger end of the sector.

The trend was up at the top and bottom ends but fell away amongst the rigids:

· Articulated - 45, 114 and 125

· Heavy rigid - 1,883, 1,642 and 1,579

· Light rigid - 1,765, 1,940 and 1,908

· Light commercial - 96,379, 137,212 and 141,704

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