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SPOTLIGHT | TRANSPORT ENGINEERING


harmonisation of rules related to such movements has continued to challenge the sector. Progress has certainly been made. “In the last ten years we have started to hear a different tone and we are now beginning to make moderate progress with regard to harmonisation,” said Steven Todd, vice president of the SC&RA (pictured right). In the USA ten years


ago, nearly half the country prohibited oversize loads from moving at weekends. Today, only five states do. “Tis is a huge success story for efficiency, particularly in moving in and out of ports. We worked with ports, which have a lot of political muscle, as well as with shippers and manufacturers, to advocate for these changes,” said Todd. Improvements have also been made in the area of night-time driving, which was prohibited throughout the USA ten years ago. Now about ten states have agreed to allow it. Dilapidated infrastructure in the USA has meant that alternative routes have had to be developed in some cases, causing some loads to move to smaller local jurisdiction roads. Tis raises the


issue of permits. In the last ten years the number of states with fully automated permit systems has doubled to about 35, said Todd. However, he noted, as more outsize loads have been forced onto different roads as, for instance, they avoid problem bridges, more and more local cities and counties are moving into the permit business. Automation is rare at that level, so once again, obtaining a permit can be labour intensive and time consuming. “Ten years ago, a very


small percentage of local governments asked for permits. Now,


for instance, we have 250 local municipalities in the four counties in the area around Chicago. At least half of those have only started asking for permits in the last 10-20 years. And it is a good source of revenue for them. Local permits can be triple or quadruple the costs of state permits.” In 2014, we announced that a


consortium of Latin American companies specialised in the transport and handling of heavy cargoes were combining to form a new association: ALATRANS (Asociacion Latino


Americana de Empresas de Transporte y Movimiento de Cargas Pesadas). Te association's objectives were to


regulate and promote the training of operators of cranes and heavy transport equipment; promote the standardisation of operation of transport and crane equipment; and promote the limitation of liability for operations.


Harmonisation In Europe, the harmonisation of permitting procedures across the continent has been a core focus for ESTA. Ton Klijn, director, said: “In the Netherlands or Switzerland, you can apply online for a permit for a route and 48 hours later you can drive it. In some countries, such as Germany, the process is still paper-based and takes eight weeks. And in other countries, such as France, you never know how long it will take – it could be three weeks or could be two months. “It is hugely inefficient in all sorts of


ways. An operator can run the same equipment, carrying exactly the same load, down the same route for years and each time it will need to apply for a new permit. It can be hard to explain to a client why there are delays. In the last


HLPFI10 | 75


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