Heavy truck amendment will improve productivity in the forestry industry

1 Apr 2010

The Wood Council of NZ says all New Zealanders will benefit from the decision to allow heavier loads on a limited number of roads and congratulates the Minister of Transport for taking action to implement the first change in 20 years.

“The amendment by the Ministry of Transport will improve New Zealand’s competitiveness in international forestry markets, while resulting in substantially lower carbon emissions relative to load weights,” President Doug Ducker said.

“We estimate this decision could result in a 20 percent increase in productivity. For the people of Rotorua and Nelson, this would mean 8000 and 6000 fewer forestry movements through their respective cities each year.”

“We also estimate there would be a 9 percent improvement in fuel efficiency – potentially 20,000 tonnes less in annual carbon emissions than would otherwise have been the case.”

Mr Ducker said there would be no compromise on safety.

“This is not an across-the-board opening up of the nation’s roads. Heavier loads will only be allowed by some vehicles on a limited number of routes.

“Logging vehicles are already permitted to operate up to the new 22 metre limit and this has gone unnoticed by the public. The corresponding benefit has been a 70 percent reduction in rollover crashes since 2000, thanks to the improved vehicle stability resulting from the lower centre of gravity possible with longer loads,” he said.

“As well as logs, the changes will also benefit an equally important volume of finished product transported by road. In all cases, only the most modern vehicles will be used for heavier loads. These are vehicles that have been designed and are used overseas to carry loads in excess of 44 tonnes.

“The government hasn’t come to this decision lightly. There has been a large amount of work, including trials, done by the Ministry of Transport in the last couple of years to ensure the amendment is soundly based.”

For more information, contact: David Rhodes, Chief Executive, Forest Owners Association
Tel 027 495 5525