Truck axle norm: Industry sees no sudden impact on freight rates, traffic

By: | Published: July 18, 2018 4:19 AM

Commercial vehicle manufacturers do not see any immediate impact in either freight rates or traffic movement in the short-term due to the government’s move to notify changes in trucks axle norms. However, they see the move as an irritant at the time the industry is preparing to move to BS-VI emission norms from April 2020.

The ministry of road transport and highway has increased the official maximum load capacity of medium and heavy vehicles.

Commercial vehicle manufacturers do not see any immediate impact in either freight rates or traffic movement in the short-term due to the government’s move to notify changes in trucks axle norms. However, they see the move as an irritant at the time the industry is preparing to move to BS-VI emission norms from April 2020.

The ministry of road transport and highway has increased the official maximum load capacity of medium and heavy vehicles (M&HCVs), including trucks and trailers, by 15-35% to check overloading. A recent survey by the ministry found that more than 50% of trucks were violating overloading regulations. The new regulation, introduced for the first time in 30 years, will apply to new vehicles and not the existing fleet.

For instance, the gross vehicles weight (GVW) of two-axle truck (two tyres on front axle, and four on the rear axle) has been raised to 18 tonne from the existing 16.2 tonne. Similarly, the GVW for a three-axle truck has been increased from 25 tonne to 28.5 tonne. In the tractor segment, a three-axle vehicles will have GVW of 29.5 tonne against 26.4 tonne applicable earlier.

However, unlike the transition to new emission norms, which would require phasing out BS-IV vehicles, the new axle norm trucks will co-exist with the older ones. Further, manufacturing newer trucks with enhanced load capacity will need time as it requires testing of brakes and other equipments and new tyres.

Vinod Dasari, MD and CEO, Ashok Leyland, said, “The changes will create confusion within the industry. If the vehicle has been designed for 25 T, its chassis and brakes have been designed for 25 T, how will the vehicle be able to take extra weight? The modification of the vehicles according to the new norms would mean bigger tyres, bigger axle and chassis, which would mean higher costs.” Questioning the timing of bringing the new regulations, he said, “I am confused why suddenly now. Why not do it from BS-VI. If somebody bought vehicle yesterday, how will they retrofit”?
Sanjay Singh, senior fellow at Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), said, “Overloading that is prevalent in the country at present implies that our trucks and roads clearly have the capacity for that. Providing a cushion of 3-4 tonne to the existing limit will not make a difference.”

He added that the notification is not going to have any effect on freight rates or demand per say. If the overloading is happening anyway, norms should be made stringent today, hefty fine should be imposed today itself.

“The proposal to increase truck axle load by 20-25% would be marginally negative for CV demand in volume terms as overloading has been a common phenomenon in India. In addition, select transport segments operate on volumetric basis like consumer durable, car carriers etc., which would not be impacted by increase axle load as their load carrying capability is constrained by loading deck. The proposal will be positive for transport community as it will reduce compliance burden at check post and bring down transport cost per tonne,” said Shamsher Dewan, vice president and sector head, corporate ratings, Icra.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition