Road Ministry allows in-use vehicles to raise axle load by 25 per cent

Soon after the government announcement of a 25 per cent increase in the permitted load capacity of trucks and trailers, it has extended the same benefit to existing or in-use heavy vehicles. 

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued an advisory in this regard on Wednesday. The higher limit would apply to the trucks, tractors, and trailers, if their gross value weight was approved under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. 

Axle load limits are being revised for the first time since 1983. The requirement for an annual fitness certificate has been replaced with a two-year renewal. 

The central government had said the decision to increase load capacity was taken after discussion with stakeholders. With this, vehicle logistics cost would reduce by 16-18 per cent, it estimated. Enabling a 2 per cent reduction in overall transportation cost as well, Union Road Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, apart from cutting the incidence of bribery to overlook overloading. He has assured strict enforcement of the new rules. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has welcomed the step as one in right direction for commercial transport. 

“However, in the absence of adequate enforcement of rated load compliance in the field, prevalent practices of rampant overload could pose serious road safety threats,” cautioned the body’s president, Abhay Firodia.

Vehicle manufacturers, however, say the industry is not ready to produce in line with the the revised gross vehicle weight (GVW). 

Under the new rules, the GVW of a two-axle truck (two wheels in the front axle and four wheels at the back) has been increased to 18.5 tonnes, from the existing 16.2 tonnes. For a three-axle truck, to 28.5 tonnes from 25 tonnes; for a five-axle one, to 43.5 tonnes from 37 tonnes.