The challenge with more compliance requirements
By Jonathan Bhana-Thomson, chief executive, Heavy Haulage association.
The Oversize transport sector already has a significant number of extra compliance requirements on top of the normal road transport ones, and now the association is trying to make these extra requirements workable for the industry.
The transport of loads that are wide, high, heavy – but only sometimes handsome – involves many permits and approvals that are designed to ensure that there is high levels of safety through the minimisation of risk associated the transport of these large loads.
What the association has seen in recent times is that other agencies are identifying situations from their perspective that need managing. The key thing is that there needs to be conversations with our industry sector to see what practices and procedures may already be in place to manage the same or similar issues; perhaps in different regions of the country, or through different regulatory regimes.
A common issue for members transporting oversize loads is road works sites as the normal layout of these does not cater for large loads to be transported through them.
The association has been encouraging communication between traffic management and oversize operators through a number of means and, in addition, the Transport Agency has some systems in place to enable contractors and transporters to communicate between each other. This is particularly essential in urban areas where the major work is carried on at night, which is also the time that our larger loads are hauled as well.
In recent times more of the traffic management supervisors working in different state highway areas, set up their own communications when there is a national system already provided by the NZTA to facilitate communications. We would encourage traffic management supervisors to use the processes already in place, rather than duplicating this system.
Of course the current system can always be improved, and we have been lobbying to achieve this for many years now, but we favour a nationwide system over a piecemeal approach.
Another issue, is larger local councils imposing approval processes for large loads that impose extra compliance requirements for traffic control. For any large load on the road already has pilots controlling traffic management, and this system has been in place for many years now. While it can always be improved, it still provides the best way to safely operate large oversize loads – as witnessed in most overseas countries. We are working with councils to address and areas of concern in this regard.
With all regulatory regimes, the emphasis falls on the operators to be responsible for regulatory compliance, and we rely on all operators in the oversize industry to perform the actions required of them in order for the regulatory regime. Therefore, as a reminder, we need operators in the oversize sector to: Know the size of your load, and what category that this fits in, within the Vehicle Dimension and Mass Rule; know what the conditions of travel are for your category of load – especially the travel times and what load pilots are required; and provide good information about your travel to those who must know – to OPIA if you are travelling on a permit, to other loads on the road that you are advised about, to Traffic Operations Centres (as required) and to those road works sites that you need to liaise with
You must also ensure that load pilots are providing good advance warning to other road users, and are using radio communication with other heavy vehicles on the road
If there are special requirements on the load or on permits, you must ensure that these are complied with. For example, when travelling over the Auckland Harbour Bridge you must notify the Traffic Operations Centre.
When operators work together with regulators to comply with good regulatory regimes then the transport of oversize loads will be both safe and efficient, which is good for all parties.