Loopholes can be a double-edged sword. Studied carefully, they can provide a cost-saving advantage in the business of importation and shipping. But when you exploit them carelessly, you risk eroding trust, integrity and even have government agencies imposing tighter regulations.
Thus, it is important to really check how much any changes to regulations can actually allow you to do. In fact, you can find a good example in recent events that took place in Queensland.
It involved an update on its regulations regarding oversized loads and bypassing restrictions via a perceived loophole regarding related parts. Many shipping organisations have started butting heads with authorities regarding how it applies to transporting large construction vehicles and their accessories.
First off though, here’s a quick refresher: it is generally ill-advised to have a load that is over 20.5 tonnes.
However, in an update released via the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, there is an intriguing note that basically allows one large item, and one small item that is associated with said large item.
The small item must not exceed one tonne, but can apply to a considerable number of parts belonging to certain construction vehicles. These include:
- Detachable blades
- Crates of auxiliary equipment
The issue is that the Department of Transport has become quite strict when enforcing the one tonne restriction for small parts. A few floats have already been grounded over the past month due to them shipping excavators with large buckets that are in excess of that restriction.
So, what does that mean for your shipments? Here are several scenarios:
1. If equipment is being transported via break bulk (along with its smaller accessories), then it would still be better if you knew the exact weight of each individual item.
2. Dozers like Cat D6Ts and D6Rs can be transported with their blades detached as the total weight of the dozer and blade pack remains around 20.5 tonnes. Hence, you need not operate under the Gazette requirements.
3. On the other hand, Cat D7Rs D7Es and larger D8s will require blade packs to be transported in completely separate shipments. Their bodies generally weigh around 21 tonnes and the blade pack further exceeds one tonne.
4. D7s and D8s can be transported with the blades on, however these will require a wide load escort as the blades are wider than 3.5m.
5. Excavators that are 20 tonnes and over can be transported with a bucket attached to the machine. One additional bucket can then be transported as a separate item provided that it doesn’t exceed the one tonne limit.
There’s no doubt that there may be a little loophole here and there that you can use to ease up shipping a little. However, it also means that accurately weighing your construction vehicles will be critical to this tactic.
Under the Chain of Responsibility legislation, AAT has already notified all carriers that legal loading will be enforced at their sites. You don’t want your insurance company calling you to say that they can’t cover your grounded vehicles just because risked exploiting a loophole.