Apr 262013
Bob Pearson with B-double

Bob Pearson with B-double


Hello from the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, probably better known now thanks to the new Pope Francis.

So, what’s going on in the South and Central American region, with regards road heavy vehicles?  I can tell you there is PLENTY and it’s POSITIVE! The region is expected to grow around 4% GDP this year, and the question of how to transport that growth, mostly coming from commodities such as grains and mineral ores is finally starting to be asked.

Shortly after HVTT12 in Stockholm last September, Bob Pearson paid a visit to Argentina. Only in October we participated in four events held in different provinces, invited by associations and local governments. For those who are not acquainted with Bob, he is called the “father of B-doubles in Australia” and wrote a book called “B-doubles: the first decade in Australia”. Bob was interviewed by national and local media, with a very positive approach. This link is from La Nacion, second most read paper in Argentina. The title, ‘The technical arguments are there’. In the picture, the vehicle behind Bob is B-double from Vulcano semitrailers, currently working in San Luis province. http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1566969-los-argumentos-tecnicos-estan

As part of that trip we visited San Luis province to have our first meeting for drafting HVTT13 needs and responsibilities with the chair of the Local Organising Committee. For those of you who are not aware yet, at the excellent Symposium in Stockholm last year, Argentina was selected to host HVTT13. It is the first time that this Symposium will be held in South America. Moreover, in a first for HVTT Symposia, there will be simultaneous translation of English presentations into Spanish and Spanish presentations into English. All abstracts and papers will be available in both English and Spanish.

You may watch the promotional video  http://www.simposioargentina.com.ar/ which hopefully will provide you with sufficient incentive for writing a paper and start making arrangements.

The dates for the Symposium are October 27th to 30th, 2014 so it is only just over 18 months away. Argentina has many great attractions so we suggest that you leave a few days for Buenos Aires, at the very least. Even at this early stage, the Symposium has received great support from industry and government.  For a culture used to last minute planning, that is saying a lot!

As you may see in the video, it will be held at the Hotel Potrero de los Funes. A variety of accommodation will be available in the hotel or in villas in the surrounding area. It may be of interest that there is car racing circuit around the lake that was used for rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship and where we may be holding sponsors’ vehicle demonstrations. And by the way, the program being developed for accompanying persons will be one to remember.

As at each Symposium, one main aim is to foster discussion and exchange of ideas.  The theme for this Symposium is Expanding Horizons.  Topics have not yet been finalised but could include

  • Vehicle-infrastructure interaction
  • Vehicle technology and design
  • Road safety and heavy vehicle community interaction
  • Heavy vehicle transport policy, standards and regulations
  • Innovative and high productivity vehicles, including trials
  • Sustainability, energy and alternative fuels
  • Intermodal transportation and logistics
  • Intelligent transport: systems and devices related to heavy vehicles
  • Vehicle-community interaction

Regular attendees at HVTT Symposia will recognise some variations to regular topics.  We aim to follow the theme of expanding horizons in a practical manner. Further details and dates will be announced in coming months, including the call for abstracts and the official website.

Changing the subject from these initial preparations for HVTT13, it is worth mentioning that heavy combination vehicles such as B-doubles are currently receiving a lot of press coverage. More than 1000 copies of the second edition of the Spanish version of Bob’s book “B-doubles: the first decade in Australia” were printed, with the sponsorship of 12 organizations. I placed the logo of HVTT13 there too, for the sponsors are presenting them as gifts to clients, academics and politicians.

On December 4th, an event was held in the province of Entre Rios, Argentina, promoted by the local university and sponsored by many companies. Politicians, associations, shippers and transport companies came to hear about B-doubles and to drive one manufactured by Hermann, a local trailer company (first in sales in Argentina). For this model in particular, the company developed a highly resistant steel alloy together with Siderar, a large steel Argentine company. All the ABS, EBS and ILAS were manufactured locally too. Scania provided their training truck with Paco, an instructor who can teach virtually anyone to drive. The event was such a success that media was writing about it for the next week (in Argentina media time that’s a lot). In case you want to see some pictures and videos, the link is: http://webpicking.com/notas/bitrenes-logistica-transporte-comercio_exterior-supply_chain.htm

Other upcoming events are the 1st Multimodal Transport Meeting” in Montevideo, Uruguay, on July 30th and a Heavy Combined Vehicles workshop in Bogota and Cali, Colombia, in August 2013. In Montevideo we will be holding a round table with shippers, infrastructure and manufacturers. Two trailer manufacturers will be showing their heavy combination vehicles (B-doubles of GW 75 ton, 25 metre length) in the main square and in the port. I wrote an article for the organizers’ magazine, in exchange for HVTT13 promotion, http://www.revistaprotagonista.com/index.php/dra-alejandra-efron.html

In Colombia, the invitation came from the government, through ANDI, an industry association. The Colombian government is building new road infrastructure given the country’s expected growth, and they are looking for ways to increase infrastructure life. Currently the maximum axle load is 14 tons, the highest in the region. B-doubles could be one of the answers, so ANDI asked me to present a workshop for logistics and transport managers. I invited an Argentinean manager from a cement company who is involved with the promotion of these vehicles since 2000, and of course, Bob Pearson, to accompany me. In both events, government will have a strong presence which we hope will facilitate legislation to authorize Heavy Combination Vehicles.  And of course, in both events we will be promoting both HVTT13 and the IFRTT network. Most likely the third edition of Bob’s book will be printed in Colombia. We shall have to wait and see.

But for now, that’s all folks,

Alejandra Efron, IFRTT Vice President, South and Central America


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