RMS busts illegal grain-running operation out of Queensland

By: Brad Gardner

NSW authorities strike against Queensland trucking firms hauling grain above regulated mass limits.


New South Wales authorities have put the skids on an illegal grain-running operation out of Queensland that skirted around heavy vehicle regulations to load beyond legal mass limits.

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has revealed to Owner//Driver details of a practice involving Queensland-based trucking firms travelling into NSW and loading grain to higher mass limits (HML) and above despite not being accredited to do so.

The Queensland-bound rigs were then attempting to dodge the heavy vehicle camera detection system on NSW roads when heading back across the border to deliver their loads.

None of the trucks had Intelligent Access Program (IAP) accreditation, which is a requirement for HML access in NSW.

"What we found was there were a number of operators running from Queensland into NSW, not participating in the scheme whatsoever, not registered in it but loading to HML and perhaps even higher and scooting back to Queensland," RMS general manager of compliance operations Paul Endycott  tells Owner//Driver.

"Now these vehicles are travelling all the way into the south western Riverina area and then running back into Queensland."

"These operators know full well what the requirements are in NSW but are loading at a higher mass because they know that they will be accepted in Queensland."

Queensland permits accredited operators to carry heavier loads within its borders compared to NSW, which has lower limits due to the number of old bridges on its road network.

RMS officers, including chain of responsibility investigators, were despatched to areas where reports of non-compliance were occurring, and Endycott says the agency now has the problem under control.

"I think we have [it under control]. Those operators have been contacted. The inquiries continue and where we’ll take those I’m not prepared to say at the moment," he says.

Endycott did not name the companies involved in the practice.

He says the RMS is trying to protect compliant trucking operators and that the agency will not tolerate those trying to gain an unfair commercial advantage.

The actions of Queensland operators gave them a significant advantage over NSW trucking firms because those enrolled in IAP need to buy and install in-vehicle tracking units and pay ongoing costs.

"If we’ve got people that are not enrolled in it and loading their vehicles to heavier mass, well, then we need to protect the people that have spent all the money on the equipment and are submitting themselves to the scrutiny. We need to jump in and protect them, clearly," Endycott says.

Mick McCulloch from McCulloch Bulk Haulage says there were instances of B-triples and AB-triples coming from Queensland and loading far in excess of legal limits.

"We haven’t got a problem with them coming down, but let’s be compliant. Because they have got an advantage over the operator that is compliant," McCulloch tells Owner//Driver.

"This is one of the things that forces freight rates down."

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