The Department of Transport (DoT) in April put forward a proposal to ban trucks exceeding 9 t from public roads during peak hours and hopes to implement the proposed regulations by the end of 2015.
This elicited strong reaction from local businesses, says industry body the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), as implementing this change will induce additional costs for consumers, with operators being forced to put more vehicles on the road.
JCCI CEO Joan Warburton-McBride explains that the new regulations stipulate that goods vehicles exceeding 9 000 kg cannot use public roads from 06:00 to 09:00 and 17:00 to 20:00 from Mondays to Fridays.
“It is clear that, at the time of the announcement, no meaningful, if any, consultation had taken place with either the private sector or other affected government departments,” says Warburton-McBride.
“As is so often the case, the far- ranging consequences, including the cost implications of this proposed policy implementation, have not been considered.”
The DoT cited road safety as a concern and stated that, in an attempt to curb the road death toll, it wanted to restrict goods vehicles on public roads during peak hours.
“However, this ban would most likely result in more trucks being on the road at night, which would have further implications for road safety, as most accidents occur between 22:00 and 06:00,” adds Warburton-McBride.
She notes that, to ensure drivers and trucks remain off the roads, government will need to invest in additional off-road holding facilities, which will, meanwhile, impact on the security of drivers, vehicles and goods.
In addition to the level of productivity per truck being severely affected, the timely delivery of raw materials and consumer goods would be affected and the economic losses would be substantial. Freight carriers would need to resort to buying additional smaller trucks, thereby increasing the number of trucks on the road.
“Further, the South African ports, which are already congested, would become gridlocked at a considerable cost to the national economy, which would further reduce South Africa’s status as the preferred logistics gateway to the South African Development Community region,” notes Warburton-McBride, adding that the different elements of the transport system are interconnected and interdependent and that implementing measures that affect the efficiency of one mode will affect the whole system.
“The Chamber has also raised its concerns with the Johannesburg City Council and the province and will continue to vigorously oppose any regulations that further hamper business operations,” she concludes.