There is mixed news for vehicle fleet operators carrying Hi-Cube containers in South Africa writes Andrew Parker.
The bad news is that operators are going to have to invest in new vehicles or convert their existing vehicles to comply with current legislation restricting overall vehicle height. The good news is that if proposals being put forward by the Road Freight Association are accepted by the Department of Transport (DoT), operators may have 15 years to make the change.
Since we published the report on the debate on Hi-Cube containers (Illegal containers on the Move – FleetWatch August 2010), the Road Freight Association (RFA) announced a series of proposals it is to make to the Department of Transport (DoT) to ensure that the movement of Hi-Cube containers is not adversely affected during the transition period by which all road container transport must comply. The proposals, which include a moratorium on prosecution for existing vehicles carrying Hi-Cube containers, are the outcome of protracted negotiations between the RFA, industry stakeholders and the DoT over the past six months.
It was during these discussions that the DoT determined that it will not increase the height of 4,3 metres as stipulated in Regulation 224 (Overall height of vehicle and load) nor is it in favour of determining Hi-Cube containers as an “abnormal load’. Based on this, the RFA proposes that the following steps be the agreed process to achieve the decision by the DoT:
- A moratorium on the prosecution of vehicles carrying Hi-Cube containers (for over-height offences only) will be in place until such time as the steps below have come into effect. (Note: The Department has already agreed to this and is to circulate such to all Provinces).
- All new vehicles registered from 1st July 2011 and intended to be used to transport Hi-Cube containers be so built (designed) as to transport the high cube container within the prescribed maximum height of 4,3 metres.
- All currently registered vehicles will legally transport Hi-Cube containers over the prescribed maximum height of 4,3 metres until 31st July 2025 (fifteen years to depreciate Capex of current fleet) where-after all vehicles will comply with the 4,3 metres maximum height prescription.
The RFA, which is awaiting a response from its members, emphasises that apart from the first point, none of the other proposals had been agreed to by the DoT at the time of writing. FleetWatch will keep our readers updated on the outcomes.