Friday, 29 July 2016

Keeping rogue hauliers off the road!

We’re delighted to have has once again secured a four-year contract to maintain and certify the DVSA’s network of 55 roadside enforcement weighbridges.

We’ll be doing all the routine maintenance and calibrations using our own purpose designed axle weighbridge calibration vehicle, a unique tractor and trailer combination that means the job can be done by one vehicle instead of four. We’ll also be surveying and maintaining the flat weighbridge approaches, so important for weighing multi-axle vehicles accurately.

Under the contract we’ve had to maintain a variety of different systems. That means we can look after any type of axle weighbridge to a very high standard.

Keeping rogue operators off the road is very important for a number of reasons and we’re pleased to be doing our bit.

Not only is an overloaded vehicle extremely dangerous but the damage caused to the UK’s infrastructure costs all of us many times over. And it’s not only the damage to the road surface that we all have to pay up for.
Dynamic Axle Weighbridge Under Test

An operator who overloads his vehicles is taking business away from you. He is trying to obtain an unfair advantage. He is under cutting your rates by operating illegally.

Fair competition is a good thing as it drives companies to do things more efficiently but unfair competition is exactly that – unfair. With margins tight and profits hard to come by, losing work to a competitor doing it cheaper by breaking the law is something that needs to be tackled.

Inadvertent overloads can happen and there is leeway built into the tolerances of the enforcement axle weighbridge Code of Practice to allow for that. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to be prosecuted for a minor overload.

But even minor overloads can lead to a prosecution if a haulier does it consistently. A while ago, one haulier thought he was being very clever by overloading his vehicles just within what he thought was the tolerance allowable.

When weighing his vehicles, the authorities found that every time they were overweight by a small but consistent margin. It was clear that this haulier was doing it deliberately and trying to gain an unfair advantage so a prosecution followed.

So our new contract with DVSA using specialist equipment and know how means we’ll be able to keep the network of enforcement axle weighbridges up and running.

And keeping overloaded vehicles and those unfair competitors off the road.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

New SOLAS regulations on container weighing go live!

The new rules designed to prevent accidents caused by overloaded containers went live on 1 July.

The International Maritime Organisations Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention now state that all containers must be weighed before embarkation.

Whilst some weighing is being done at the ports; some have axle weighing systems, others have weighing equipment built into the dock loaders, finding that your container is overloaded when you get to the port might be too late and present problems.

The Regulations do in fact state that the weight must be presented to the Master of the vessel in sufficient time for a stowage plan to be prepared. There are contingencies for obtaining the weight when a container arrives at the port without it but there could be costs attached to the shipper if the port have to do the weighing.

Customers have approached us about weighing containers before they leave their sites using our dynamic axle weighbridge. We advise them that it is perfectly feasible and existing systems can even have a minor software modification to allow the entry of additional information such as container number.
Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridges used for container weighing

The largest trucks can be weighed in around 40 seconds and accuracy of 0.5% is achievable with the right installation. Two-way operation is also possible which means that the tare weight of a truck can be obtained prior to the container being loaded onto the trailer as well.

The consequences of a vessel being overloaded can be catastrophic. With an incorrect centre of gravity, containers can fall overboard and be lost forever. The paperwork in making an insurance claim would almost certainly be time consuming and tedious but the loss of a shipment means customers not having their orders fulfilled.

But that’s the least worst outcome. A stack of containers collapsing whilst a ship is at sea could have extremely serious consequences and it has even been known for a ship to break its back due to severe overloading.

The Safety Of Life At Sea regulations mean exactly that and preventing overload containers from getting onboard makes perfect sense.

For the transport operator, obtaining the weight of containers prior to shipping by investing in their own weighing facility also makes perfect sense. It’s a one-off cost which is then available for evermore and will minimise delays at the port and the cost of having them obtain the weight for you.

And the added benefit of ensuring your vehicles are not overloaded when they leave your yard and go out on the road is almost a side issue, albeit a very important one.