Posts Tagged ‘iron ore’

Oops, I’m Too Late!

July 5, 2012

Oops, I got here too late. I’ll have to stay the night. Shame.

Well, in a nutshell, that’s what happened but it’s not the complete story. I am staying the night at the Spinifex Camp at Yandicoogina in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It’s about 1300-1400km north of Perth and earlier today I spent a few hours unloading the food and supplies needed to keep the place running for another week.

“It all began…” as all good stories do with a dramatic and traumatic event. The driver that started out this run from Perth received a bad news phone call about 600km into the run – a family medical emergency on the other side of the country. Well, no-one can blame him for wanting to be there instead of here (I haven’t heard how things are going over there yet, fingers crossed) so he dropped the three trailers of food and supplies in Mount Magnet and headed back to Perth and a plane ride east.

I was just leaving Newman for Perth after unloading my three trailers and was six hours away from Mount Magnet when this all happened so it was decided I would pick up the three loaded trailers, leaving my three empty trailers, and head back north and complete the run. Of course, the delivery schedule was out the window with the extra distance I had to travel so all necessary phone calls were made to customers (did I mention there was four deliveries instead of the normal two for the run?). Murphy had to put in his two cents worth so I was a further two hours later than anticipated but I at least got the Spinifex delivery done which was the biggest freight drop of the four deliveries and the most time consuming with one full trailer of backloading to take back to Perth. In fact, there was two trailers worth of backloading but because the freight from the extra two drops was taking up the remaining trailer space it was decided that recycled glass and cardboard probably wasn’t as important as the food and ALCOHOL the other camps were waiting on. Common sense prevails, drinkers of the Pilbara rejoice!

You know one of the great things about delivering the food and alcohol to these camps miles from any town, city or coastline? It’s that when it comes down to it the people out here really do appreciate the service you provide them and are more than happy to put you up with a room,a hot shower and a feed. Most of the time I’m happy to arrive on site, unload and ask for nothing more than a signature on a manifest (ok, I do like to grumble about things when the forklift driver doesn’t know his ‘fork tilt lever’ from his ‘fork up/down lever’ and when…). Anyway, I don’t take advantage of their generosity and when days like today come along I appreciate the little things like the shower, the bed and the meal.

Tomorrow I leave here around 6am and head for the next two drops which are only about 15km apart and an hours drive from here. Then a little bit of a trailer shuffle to make sure I’m not dragging the still loaded and heaviest trailer as my third and head 115km south to Newman and unload the remaining freight around lunchtime-ish. That should be pretty straightforward (mind you, this is the Pilbara) and then another trailer shuffle to make my second trailer my first trailer, my third trailer my second trailer and my first trailer my third trailer. Got it? It’s all about setting up the roadtrain to get the best ride out of all the trailers – it’s a 12 hour journey back to Perth from Newman and the trailers ARE supposed to follow in the wheel track of the prime mover in front. It makes for a less stressful day, believe me!

Now who was the smart ass that said truck drivers just sit around all day?

Cheers, Mike.

20120705-200431.jpg

Advertisements

A Letter To Main Roads Western Australia

October 31, 2011

Main Roads Western Australia

The following is a submission I made to Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) via their website. As you can see, it started out as they probably expected but I couldn’t help myself the further I got in. I see a real problem developing on the roads I travel every day. Ok, I dont think MRWA have their head in the sand, but I think if they get some feedback from drivers like you and me they might be able to focus their efforts in areas that really count. If you read this and believe (legitmately) that MRWA might benefit from your observations then go to their website and let your views be known.

Submission as follows :

Potholes appearing on Gt Northern Hwy around SLK142, also at Bindi Bindi T intersection Gt Northern Hwy (unsure of SLK). My main concern is the lack of room at the Wubin roadtrain assembly area. I use the assembly area 2 to 4 times a week and am frequently frustrated by the lack of room despite the last upgrade.This is also a major problem at the Newman roadtrain assembly area-I have been unable to access this area on my last three trips to Newman and have utilised the Turf Club parking area as well as the first parking bay north of the Newman townsite (on the Gt Northern Hwy) for the purpose of splitting triple roadtrain trailers for the delivery of freight to the Newman townsite. I am aware that plans are in motion for upgrading the Newman roadtrain assembly area but are there plans to further extend the Wubin roadtrain assembly area? As I see it roadtrain traffic on the Gt Northern Hwy stands to increase by a significant amount before anyone could reasonably expect it to plateau and eventually decrease sometime in the far distant future when the iron ore mining boom finally loses it’s momentum. Until that time the road infrastructure must keep pace. That also includes the many inadequate parking areas dotted up and down the Gt Northern Hwy-inadequate because quite often only two or three trucks can fit in each of them. In fact, some of the parking areas are so restricted that if three trucks fit into them then they must leave in the precise order they arrived in – there is simply no room to get around the truck in front. Hopefully the first truck “in” doesn’t expect a sleep-in. This is an age when more and more responsibility is being forced upon the driver and as a driver I am being forced further and further into a corner. To get out of this corner I need the freedom to stop in a parking bay that has room for my truck when I need it, I need to have spacious roadtrain assembly areas (with night lighting-pretty please) to assemble and disassemble triple roadtrains, and I need to know that “those-who-must-be-obeyed” have some concept of the hurdles we face. Until then, catch phrases like “fatigue management” and “safe work practices” are just…well, they’re just bullshit.

Well, I hope that gives some context to my more recent tweets. If you want to follow me on Twitter there is a “Follow” link on the sidebar.

Cheers, Mike.

Dusting Off The Cobwebs

February 25, 2010

Thought I’d better show some TLC towards my blog. It’s not that I’d forgotten about it – it’s just that I haven’t been able to find the time! So, to break the dry spell, I thought I would chuck a quick picture or two up here.
Swapping Trailers

First pic is me in the process of dropping one empty trailer before hooking onto my remaining two loaded trailers prior to unloading them at the Packsaddle Camp, Area C minesite.
Pub!

Second pic was taken in the main street of Meekatharra, Western Australia. I was heading north on a hot afternoon and saw the Pub in the distance and almost chucked it in for the day 😉