Load limits put pressure on trucking

Load limits imposed due to Queensland floods put pressure on trucking companies to survive

By Ruza Zivkusic | February 10, 2011

North Queensland’s clash with nature has left the state with $2.5 billion worth in damages, putting further strain on smaller transport businesses, according to a transport specialist firm.

Floods and cyclone have affected around 20 percent of Queensland’s roads, weakening highway infrastructure with load limits imposed on 80 percent to stop trucks straining the crumbling roads, Ferrier Hodgson partner Brendan Richards says.

"In an industry where margins are razor thin, forcing operators to drive at less than full capacity would be the last straw for smaller businesses," Richards says.

He says many operators in flood-affected areas are imposing temporary surcharges to help cover the increased costs.

"In some cases, these surcharges are as much as 50 percent.

"The mainstream media has been quick to accuse operators of profiteering, suggesting the surcharges could kill businesses struggling to restock in the aftermath of the floods," he says.

"In reality, the flood recovery (of $6 billion) represents a significant unexpected uptick in economic activity.

"The opportunities it will present to the transport industry will greatly exceed he costs of the temporary setbacks the floods delivered and promise a busy time ahead for those operators able to weather the sort.

"What remains to be seen is whether operators have the capacity or initiative to capitalise on those opportunities."

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