CHANGE THE regulations! That will certainly bring an end to the dilemma of transport operators - including those involved with fruit exports in the Western Cape - who risk being penalised for carrying the new ‘high cube’ refrigerated containers.
While these containers conform to international standards, although larger than their predecessors, their total height, once loaded onto standard transport trailers, exceeds by 28 centimetres the 4.3-metre limit stipulated in the country’s transport regulations.
Even so, this is still below that of a double-decker bus, and transport companies say they have no problem passing under low bridges with their high cube loads or through tunnels such as the Huguenot between Paarl and Worcester, for instance.
Where the problem does arise is that truckers risk a R1 000 fine for carrying the new containers and fear the technical breach of the regulations may invalidate their insurance.
FTW understands the country’s transport authorities would prefer transport companies to use low-bed trailers, but such a change-over would involve costly new equipment and require changes to loading platforms and facilities in packing houses.
As things now stand, truckers back their trailers loaded with empty containers snugly into a loading bay to prevent the escape of cold air, upon which fork lifts drive straight in with their loads.
If low bed trailers were to be used, this practice would become impossible. What is more, low bed trailers are longer and forklifts unable to drive over the wheels to reach the containers secured on the low bed in front of the wheels.
The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce says it has been told the answer lies in a “simple change” to the regulations or granting transport operators the same exemption enjoyed by companies running double-decker buses.
New containers pose height restriction penalties