50MAX permits mean better business for one Northland transport operator.
50MAX permits are ‘a godsend’, according to Basil Richards of Whangarei’s GC Stokes Transport Ltd. Basil, an operations manager looking after 21 logging trucks, first applied for a 50MAX permit in November 2013, and now has three.
“We are always short of drivers and trucks, so being able to put an extra 5 tonnes on is really working for us. It means we are actually transporting an additional 45 tonnes a day. We are really pleased – 50MAX is a great asset.”
50MAX is a major initiative in the Transport Agency’s priority to move more freight on fewer trucks. 50MAX trucks are high productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs) that are slightly longer than standard 44-tonne vehicles, have an additional axle (nine in total) and can have a total weight of up to 50 tonnes. This design means this new generation of trucks can deliver improved productivity of around 15%.
The design of these truck combinations also means that their impact on the bridges and roads is similar to standard 44-tonne trucks. While heavier HPMVs will be restricted to around 10,000 kilometres of New Zealand’s roads, 50MAX can travel over the much of the remainder of our road network. This includes being able to deliver and collect goods being produced in New Zealand’s productive heartland where freight volumes are high and the distance to market long. This means the benefits of heavier payloads, such as cutting freight costs and improved safety benefits, can be shared across New Zealand.
Since their launch in October 2013 permits for 50MAX trucks have already passed the ‘1000’ milestone and around 25 million kilometres worth of freight trips undertaken. Permits are turned around with five working days and access has now been approved, subject to some do-not-cross bridges, on all State highways and 64% of the local road network. Operators now also benefit from a new, simplified permit application system, as well as an on-line zoomable map
Basil says he has ordered more trucks to 50MAX specifications. “These are great trucks and the stability with the extra axle is amazing. The safety features are great, and the units are rocking. We can actually stack the wood lower, so that lower centre of gravity also makes it safer. We also run CTI, which improves traction. I reckon that’s a must on these rigs, particularly in forestry.”