Inverell Freighters flees IAP 'nightmare'

Trucking operators using a combination of standard and HML loads warned off "bureaucratic nightmare" under IAP

Inverell Freighters flees IAP 'nightmare'
Inverell Freighters flees IAP 'nightmare'
By Brad Gardner

Trucking operators alternating between standard and higher mass limits have been warned of a "bureaucratic nightmare" if they enrol in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

NSW-based trucking company Inverell Freighters has turned its back on the monitoring scheme, claiming IAP cannot distinguish between HML and standard loads.

Under IAP, road authorities are notified if a truck travels onto a route off the HML network. The authorities then issue the trucking company with a breach notice asking it to explain why the vehicle diverted from a set route.

But Inverell Freighters Managing Director Kerry Brown says IAP will also think trucks carrying standard loads on a non-HML route are breaching access conditions.

"IAP assumes every load is a HML load. [But] as a general carrier, two loads are never the same," Brown says.

As such, the company feared being swamped by ‘please explain’ letters on a daily basis because its vehicles would be using a combination of standard and HML routes.

"It [IAP] was not for us because of the bureaucratic nightmare," Brown says.

If Inverell Freighters enrolled in IAP, Brown told ATN the company would need to devote resources just to respond to letters for breaches that not have been committed.

"A [small] company like ours is not going to put up with 20 letters a day," he says

But the government agency responsible for accrediting IAP service providers has disputed Brown’s claims, with a spokesman saying the tracking system is capable of distinguishing different loads.

The Transport Certification Australia (TCA) spokesman says IAP service providers offer a self declaration facility for companies using a combination of standard loads and HML.

The spokesman says trucking companies can choose between an in-vehicle device like a touch screen or a "back office" solution such as a website to input information.

"In either case, the solution must allow the transport operator to enter in the total combination mass, vehicle configuration and comments," the spokesman says.

"IAP then uses the location of the vehicle (via GPS) and the declaration of the transport operator to determine if the correct load is carried on the correct road."

The TCA says the road authorities will not issue breach notices as long as operators correctly declare the load carried by each truck.

According to the spokesman, drivers with in-vehicle declaration facilities will input the information as soon as the vehicle is loaded.

"A driver using a back office solution may note all their mass changes through the day and enter them into a website at the end of the day, noting the times when the declaration was made," the spokesman says.

However, Brown says when he contacted the Roads and Traffic Authority about his concerns he was told the department did not know how to resolve the issue.

"That was a real problem that they didn’t know how to overcome," he says.

Brown has also criticised the decision to link HML to IAP, saying it disadvantages regional operators.

"We’re on and off the HML limits," he says.

Inverell Freighters, which is near the Gwydir Highway, cannot haul HML loads to places like Moree, Glenn Innes, Wee Waa and Guneda because the Government will not allow extra mass to be carried in those areas.

"It [IAP] only benefits the big companies that run capital city freight," Brown says.

"Obviously the big guys are doing all the lobbying."

Brown says Inverell Freighters must now compete against companies capable of carrying up to 13 percent more freight.

Furthermore, Brown says enrolling in IAP means he will have to get rid of the satellite tracking technology he currently uses because the current provider is not IAP accredited.

The owner of a Parkes-based trucking company tells ATN he was quoted $20,000 to install the necessary technology in five of his B-doubles.

IAP enrolment for HML access became mandatory on July 1 in Queensland and NSW. Victoria opted against imposing IAP for HML access, instead applying it to concrete pump trucks, cranes and high productivity vehicles.

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