New scheme to take grain trucks off roads

A SCHEME to reduce the number of grain haulage trucks on NSW roads comes into force tomorrow.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the 2013-14 Grain Harvest Management Scheme would result in an increase in road freight productivity during the grain harvest season which, in turn, will lead to fewer truck movements on state, regional and local roads.

Mr Gay said that under the new scheme, a typical 19 metre six-axle semi-trailer - the 'workhorse' of the grain haulage task in country NSW - would be able to operate at 44.6 tonnes rather than 42.5 tonnes when running at General Mass Limits (GML).

"The extra 2.1 tonne in weight equates to a 5% increase in road freight productivity and provides some flexibility to help alleviate the issues of fluctuating moisture content and slight load shifts in grain seeds which can throw out weights from paddock to silo," he said.

"With nearly 30 local councils already signing up to the scheme - as well as endorsement from leading organisations such as GrainCorp, NSW Farmers Association and the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association of NSW - we're confident we've designed a smart, safe scheme which will deliver real benefits and savings to the road network and supply chain from paddock to port.

"Significantly, under a tough - but fair - 'three strikes and you are out' policy the days of operators overloading their grain trucks will be a thing of the past.

"If operators are slightly overloaded they will be given three opportunities to adjust their loading practices, after which their truck will be removed from the scheme for the remainder of the season.

"Furthermore, trucks severely overload by exceeding 5% above the GHMS - for example a GML semi-trailer running at 47 tonnes - will be immediately removed from the scheme and those involved in the operation will face the full force of the law, including Chain of Responsibility legislation."

In addition to increased oversight of all loads being presented at participating silos, the GHMS places obligations on silos to provide an area where overloaded trucks can adjust their loads.

Minister Gay said this will eliminate the ridiculous and wasteful situation of overloaded trucks being returned to the

The scheme will run until the completion of the summer rice harvest at the end of May 2014. It will be administered by Transport for NSW.

The new scheme applies to the transport of wheat, barley, rice, oats, canola and legumes.

Topics:  commodities duncan gay grains transport

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