The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has today, 6th of July, called for an urgent meeting with the Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD to discuss the impact of a weight reduction on articulated vehicles that the Minister failed to recently renew.
For in excess of twelve years, the road haulage sector in Ireland has been permitted to operate, via a derogation, providing for a maximum gross weight of 42 tonne on a five axle articulated vehicle. Such a provision was introduced in order to cater for the unusual dynamics within the haulage industry in Ireland such as milk collection from farm yards and related agricultural produce collection.
When operating at 42 tonne, the vehicles utilised to make these various collections and deliveries tend to be of a shorter overall length and therefore make access to tight farm yards accessible. In addition, a large quantity of such vehicles are utilised in the import / export sector where higher weight limits on a five axle articulated vehicle can be availed of within Europe.
The Departments failure to continue the derogation at 42 tonne has been met with disbelief by haulage operators utilising such a limit within the sector. As a result, the association is seeking the implementation of legislation to protect the five axle articulated vehicle weight at a minimum of 42 tonne but preferably an increase to 44 tonne in-line with a number of other Member States.
Speaking following the Ministers decision, President of the IRHA Ms Verona Murphy stated: “ Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) were asked by the Department of Transport to carry out a study on the impact of road wear by a five axle articulated vehicle versus a six axle articulated vehicle which does not represent a like-for-like comparison”.
Ms Murphy continued; “Furthermore, during the course of our recent meeting, Minister Ross asked TII what quantifiable saving would be made by reverting back to a 40 tonne weight limit and TII were unable to provide a figure. Our anger and disappointment has been compounded by the fact that the IRHA was not directly informed of this change by the Department, rather we learned of this change via a press release that was issued.”
The IRHA has stated that it is a farcical situation where five axle rigid vehicles have been operating in Ireland at 39 tonne based on a grey area within the existing weights legislation, while a five axle articulated vehicle, which is much more road-friendly, can no longer operate at 42 tonne. As a result, the haulage market in Ireland has been distorted and therefore urgent action is required by Minister Ross. This particular industry difficulty has been further hit by Britain’s vote to leave the EU and the subsequent drop in the value of sterling which is making the current operating conditions unsustainable.
For further comment, please contact IRHA President Verona Murphy on 087 253 2720