New loading regulations this year: NTC

NTC is aiming for new mass loading transfer regulations to be in place this year.

New loading regulations this year: NTC
The NTC says changes to loading regulations will give industry greater flexibility.


Changes to mass loading transfer regulations are expected to be in place in the second half of 2014, the National Transport Commission (NTC) says.

The NTC is working with the Queensland Government to amend the Heavy Vehicle National Law to implement the new requirements, which transport ministers agreed to last month.  

Any amendments to the law go through Queensland’s parliament first, with the other jurisdictions that signed up to national regulations then making the same changes.  

The NTC says it is aiming to have the new loading regulations in place "later this year" and that details on how the changes will work in practice will also be available.

The reform allows up to one tonne of a load to be transferred from single or tandem axle groups to a tri-axle group.  

The amendment applies to trucks operating under general mass limits and is designed to provide greater loading flexibility and improved handling of uneven loads without increasing the overall mass of a vehicle.  

Currently, the weight permitted for a heavy vehicle is the total of the maximum masses allowed on each of the truck’s axle groups.

"This meant that for a truck to be able to carry the maximum legal load, that load must be perfectly distributed across all axle groups," NTC CEO Paul Retter says.

"The new rules allow a bit more flexibility, one tonne, in the mass limits on axles to make the law practical and fair."

Under the new amendment, the amount of freight each truck can carry will not increase.

"While they still need to take care to ensure their vehicles are correctly and safely loaded within the limits, the task is now not as hard," Retter says.

He says drivers transporting mixed loads under existing regulations face a difficult task getting it right.

"Drivers who were under the total mass limit were still liable for fines if the mass or any of the truck’s axle groups exceeded the prescribed limit, even though their loads did less damage to our roads," Retter says.

The NTC says the change will slightly reduce the impact trucks have on road infrastructure.

It says when the load moves onto a three axle group from a dual or single axle – without changing the total load carried – the truck creates less wear and tear on roads.

"The laws are now 20 years old and are out of date. They create unnecessary and unreasonable work for truckers and are well overdue for an update," Retter says.

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