JIS News

Despite the efforts of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) to stem the practice of overloading, some truckers contend that low haulage rates leave them with very little option but to continue the practice.
Private trucker, Oswald Campbell, sums it all up with the statement, “nobody enters a business to operate at a loss; everybody goes into a business to gain. It all boils down to achieving the bottomline – earning a profit.”
While Mr. Campbell undertands what the campaign seeks to accomplish, he says that the chances of him complying with the regulations are very slim. To him, truckers have very little option but to overload, if they are to realize a profit from their investment.
The current weight enforcement measures, he notes, means less money for the truckers, as smaller loads means less cash.
“The tagline of the campaign, ‘Truck Overload Destroys Our Roads’ is all well and good, but they want to regulate the weight without regulating the haulage rates,” he opines. He is calling on the government to regulate the rate, so that everyone can benefit.
Mr. Campbell tells JIS News that haulage rates vary depending on the distance to be covered. For a trip from St. Thomas to Montego Bay, he explains, the rate is set at $1,000 per tonne. His truck is licensed to carry a maximum weight of thirty tonnes and at $1000 per tonne; Oswald says he is paid $30,000 for such a trip. This, he bemoans, is quickly gobbled up in fuel expenses.
“I drive a tip trailer, which should haul a maximum of 30 tonnes. If I take up 30 tonnes, I cannot benefit; I just a work fi gas oil. I don’t use less than $30, 0000 to $35, 000 in fuel to go to MoBay, so where is that going to leave the owner, if I don’t carry extra?” he asks.
Although Mr. Campbell admits to the dangers and effects of overloading, he laments that low rates and high maintenance costs pushes them to continue the harmful practice.
“Mi sit dung and a think bout it; it good fi carry thirty tonne go a Mobay, cause yu can do it all a day now comfortably and is less stress pon yu engine, cause yu nuh have to spend money to modify yu suspension fi accommodate 50 and 60 tonne so to speak. So in every way it beneficial, but the rate nuh ready,” he said.
However, Inspector at the Island Traffic Authority, Clive McDonald, while acknowledging the plight of industry players such as Mr. Campbell, sees no reasonable justification for overloading. Most stakeholders, he notes, are in full support of the Vehicle Weight Enforcement programme, evident in the large increase in the compliance rate from 46 % in December to 92% in June.
Mr. Mcdonald notes that the industry players who grapple mostly with the challenges of remaining in the legal limit, based on going rates, are the haulage contractors for aggregates and concrete mixers.
The ITA Official is resolute that there is no plausible reason for overloading. Such a practice, he notes, is unjustifiable, considering its destructive effect on the nation’s roadways, and its damage to the investment of truck owners and contractors.
Instead of overloading, he suggests that they try to establish, or examine the best practice for their operations.
“For example, trucks of 10 cubic yard should not be travelling with the maximum in the trucks. Instead of hauling a full truck of concrete, they can think about mixing that concrete on site,” Mr. McDonald opines.
He explains that, currently, truckers are paid by the amount they haul in any one trip. The ITA Inspector says that truckers could instead haul the maximum allowed legally, and be paid per trip instead of the quantity of cargo per trip.
According to Mr. Campbell, this would work if the industry is restructured. He suggests that the private truckers form a representational body that can lobby for better rates.
Mr. McDonald emphasizes that haulage rates are not set by the government, but are based on an agreement between quarry operators and haulage contractors. The ITA only enforces.
Since the ITA Vehicle Weight Enforcement programme began on December 15, a total of 1,471 vehicles have been weighed.

Skip to content