Season’s greetings to you all
Well, 2016 has been a big year which has ended with a big shake. My thoughts are with all those who have had their lives disrupted by the Kaikoura Earthquake, including all those in Canterbury who must be wondering if the shaking will ever end.
I’d like to thank the transport industry for the way that the vast majority of you have responded to the temporary loss of State highway 1. The feedback has been that compliance has been largely good along this route which adds many hours on to the journey time between Picton and Christchurch.
We’ve been working hard with the Road Transport Forum and the industry to understand the issues and help with clear messages to minimise disruption.
Please remember that this route is getting four times more traffic than usual and we’re coming in to the peak holiday season so you need to expect delays and allow for rest stops in your journey.
While the efficient movement of freight is an important priority, remember that above all else we want to see everyone who uses this alternate route to State highway 1 complete their journey safely.
The earthquake aside there has been a number of highlights for freight efficiency in 2016.
For me, seeing the 10,000th 50MAX permit issued was a major milestone. It shows just how far this innovative scheme has come. In a few years it has gone from an idea to an integral part of a more efficient freight network in New Zealand. This month we saw Invercargill City Council sign up to 50MAX and we are still talking to the few remaining Councils about joining the scheme.
On the safety front we have seen the hugely successful Rollover Prevention Workshops that have been hosted in partnership with the Road Transport Forum. It’s been great to see the enthusiasm from the industry about addressing a safety issue that nationally we do not have a good record on. With the success of the rollover series we are looking to see if we can apply the partnership approach with industry to other safety initiatives.
Further to that, in November we saw the signing of the new Vehicle Dimension and Mass (VDAM) Rule which will take effect from 1 February next year. The new Rule balances increasing productivity, ensuring road safety and protecting our road networks. I encourage you to ensure you’re familiar with how the Rule will change before next year by visiting our website, www.nzta.govt.nz/vdamrule2016 (external link) .
I’ll finish with one last important message. If you’re out on the roads over the holiday period please plan your journey, allow for the possibility of delays and drive safely.
All the best for a prosperous 2017.
Freight Portfolio Director
NZ Transport Agency