As of the 1st of October, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) has been amended to ensure that all parties in the supply chain network share great responsibility in their use of said heavy vehicles.
This has clear implications in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) policies in many logistics organizations nationwide. And not only that, the amendments have specifically been made to ensure that even business customers can be held accountable.
For the sake of both compliance and the safety of all employees involved, the business customers of these organizations must remember their own role.
Generally, logistics customers in the CoR are assigned the role of Consignee. In light of the HVNL amendments, the crucial responsibilities and concerns of the Consignee are now as follows:
- Load Limitations - Loads must must not exceed a vehicle’s limits of mass or dimension.
- Security of Goods - Cargo should be secured appropriately and sufficiently restrained. This responsibility can also extend to:
- Installation of load restraint equipment.
- Sufficient vehicle and equipment maintenance.
- Documentation - All necessary paperwork should be provided prior to delivery, with special importance emphasized on:
- Container Weight Declarations
- Documents required for transporting hazardous goods.
- Transparency - Load information pertaining to the above requirements must also be forwarded to the transport company.
- Driver Conduct - Delivery Requirements should not force drivers to commit offenses such as:
- Exceeding speed limits.
- Driving out of regulated hours.
- Insufficient rest.
- Driving under influence or fatigue.
- Staff/Personnel Training - All relevant personnel must be instilled with a firm understanding of the CoR, what their organization’s role is within the Chain and their own role in fulfilling the requirements. The training should include:
- Competency for relevant duties such as safe driving, loading and unloading practices etc.
- Awareness of policies and the importance of compliance with road laws in relation to the CoR.
- Regular reviews, audits and competency checks for all personnel involved.
- Certified risk management systems for identification and control.
- Sufficient rest hours for drivers and additional exemptions due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Monitoring tools for sufficient tracking and compliance checks (including those for speed and faitgue).
Under the amended law, all Consignees are required to take all reasonable steps to prevent a violation of the CoR. Circumstances may still define the exact nature of those steps for individual companies. However, industry best practices are always good examples. These include (but not limited to):
- Acquire tools and establish processes that allow the accurate measuring of all goods to be loaded on land transports.
- Keeping timelines humane and realistic, creating allowances for emergencies and unexpected roadblocks.
- Ensuring that operating conditions are not just compliant with the bare minimum of the law but closer the ideal.
It is important to remember that while business customers are enlisting the services of logistics providers, they must remember to still play an active role in their supply chain. The new amendments have been put to ensure that being a customer does not diminish your own duties and responsibilities in the CoR.