Kiwi operators win mass boost in productivity plan

Kiwi operators could carry more mass under special permits on certain roads under government plan

New Zealand truck operators may soon be able to carry larger loads under special permits on certain roads if a government proposal is approved.

The country’s Transport Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement last week and says such a move could improve productivity gains as well as reduce congestion on roads.

"This [the ability to carry larger loads] would deliver big productivity gains for industry as a result of reduced transportation costs and help New Zealand grow faster out of the current global recession," Joyce says.

"Allowing some trucks on some routes to carry heavier loads would also mean fewer trucks on the roads. This would have the flow on effects of reduced congestion and frustration for other motorists."

The proposal comes after trials carried out last late year and early this year allowed certain trucks to carry loads of 50 tonnes instead of the regular 44 tonne limit, with positive results.

"Results from the trials and research undertaken show productivity could increase in the range of 10 to 20 percent, trip numbers could reduce by 16 percent, fuel use by 20 percent and we could see an overall increase in GDP in the range of $250 to $500 million per annum," Joyce says.

All operators looking to increase their loads would have to put their trucks through vigorous safety checks, and would not be allowed to be wider or longer than current vehicles but make better use of existing capacity.

Subject to the consultation process currently under way, trucks could be carrying increased loads by early 2010.

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