Come Tuesday the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will hike loading capacity for trucks and heavy commercial vehicles. As per the new norms, the loading capacity for different categories of trucks will go up by 15-25 percent. The Centre hopes this move will give a big boost to the industry and the logistics sector.
A big reason why this move is significant is that rules on loading capacity for trucks and tractor trailers have remained unchanged since 1985. Top government sources closely involved with formulating this policy say this move was necessitated by the violation of old loading norms, improvements in road quality and vehicular technology.
The new notification will increase the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) limit for different categories of heavy commercial vehicles. GVW of a truck is the weight of the truck itself plus the total amount of load it can carry.
Here's how some of the key heavy commercial vehicles will be impacted:
Load carrying capacity of heavy trucks to be increased upto 25%
Gross vehicle weight of a 2 axle truck to be increased from 16.2 to 19 tonnes
Gross vehicle weight of a 3 axle truck to be increased from 25 tonnes to 28.5 tonnes
Gross vehicle weight of a 5 axle truck to be increased from 37 tonnes to 43.5 tonnes
Gross vehicle weight of a tractor-trailer with 5 axles and 2 tandem axles to be increased from 44 tonnes to 49 tonnes
Gross vehicle weight of a 5 axle and single tandem axle trailer to be increased from 49 to 55 tonnes
Government sources tell CNBC-TV18 that this move will ensure better compliance as we regularly see instances of heavy overloading. However, the notification would come with stiff penalties for violations. Those found violating the new loading norms could have to pay a penalty which is almost ten times the current figure and adding to that there will be penalties under the Motor Vehicles Act.
The move has evoked mixed reactions from the industry. Senior members of the All India Transporters Welfare Association welcomed the move but said the heavy penalties will not solve the problem of overloading. The AITWA also said that unless the quality of the roads also improves the rate of accidents will go up.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has cautioned against the practice of overloading. Sugato Sen, Deputy Director General, SIAM said, “SIAM welcomes the government’s move to increase loading capacity of trucks. With the quality of roads improving this is a natural step. However, the illegal practice of overloading should be checked and eliminated completely.”
The notification would apply to HCVs prospectively and in the industry, there is a degree of uncertainty with regard to older vehicles.
“The centre’s decision on increasing truck loading capacity is confusing for the industry,” Ashok Leyland managing director Vinod Dasari told CNBC-TV18.