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Management of heavy vehicle mass

Viterra is working with the grain industry, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and SA Police to implement measures that reduce heavy vehicle overloading and promote compliance with transport regulation, while still recognising the difficulties faced by growers and heavy vehicle operators in moving the crop from farm to site.

The Heavy Vehicle National Law administered by NHVR changed in October 2018, drivers should familiarise themselves with the changes.

Carriers and their drivers should be familiar with the South Australian Grain Carriers Code of Practice which is registered with the NHVR.

Prior to commencing an off-farm grower delivery, the driver must consider:

  • all accreditations needed
  • the vehicle combination used, and
  • the appropriate route from the loading point to the delivery site.

The code does not provide authority for any vehicle to be loaded in excess of its statutory mass limit. Growers, loaders and drivers all have their own obligations under transport regulation. If you are unsure of your obligations you should seek independent advice.

Anyone driving a vehicle carrying grain must ensure they are aware of and comply with all Chain of Responsibility requirements.
Chain of responsibility

Driver declaration of legal mass

vmm_1The driver is responsible for determining the vehicle’s legal mass limit and is required to declare the legal mass of their vehicle at a Viterra site.

Drivers are required to declare the mass of their vehicle via the Mass Limit Code. This code is linked to the legal mass of the specific vehicle configuration, including accredited vehicles. The Mass Limit Code is recorded on the weighnote.

Declaring the wrong code on a weighnote or exceeding the legal gross vehicle mass limit constitutes an offence that may be dealt with by the NHVR.


Operation of vehicles at Higher Mass Limits or by Permit

stickerDrivers claiming vehicle mass limits higher than general mass are required to provide evidence of entitlement.

All vehicles claiming a Higher Mass Limit (HML) or Concessional Mass Limit (CML), which include mass codes starting with the letters C, H or GH, must:

  • be accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS)
  • clearly display the accreditation label on the vehicle, and
  • comply with the South Australia Heavy Vehicle Farm Gate Grain Transport Exemption (Notice) 2015.

All vehicles claiming a Permit-based Mass Limit, with a mass code starting with P, must provide the permit number. Failure to provide supporting evidence of the mass limit entitlement, via either NHVAS accreditation or permit, will result in the vehicle being treated as operating at the General Mass Limit.

Please contact the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator on 1300 696 487 if you require more information on the accreditation and permit schemes.


Management of overloaded vehicles

When a vehicle is loaded, the loader and driver have a responsibility to ensure the vehicle is not loaded in excess of its permitted mass limit.

Viterra weighs vehicles on entry and exit of its facilities. If a vehicle enters any Viterra site overloaded to any extent, the Weighnote will be marked with a mass breach warning.

Viterra employees will advise drivers of overloaded vehicles of any requirements to ensure site safety and safe management of the vehicle.

Important information on breaches

If the vehicle is loaded on farm, both the loader and driver are required to demonstrate that corrective actions have been taken to avoid overloads recurring.

If breaches are committed, the grower who consigned the load may also receive a formal letter, phone call or email from Viterra advising of the breach, in accordance with Chain of Responsibility legislation.

Breaches include:

  • Entering any Viterra site in with a vehicle that exceeds its Statutory Mass Limit
  • The driver being unable to demonstrate corrective actions have been taken to manage mass in accordance with the Code (i.e. overload percentage trending downwards)
  • The driver being unable to provide the required information about the vehicle (e.g. if the incorrect legal mass is declared by the driver, incorrect accreditation label numbers or truck registration details).

Site access restrictions – the ‘last mile’

Carriers and drivers need to consider the maximum mass limit allowed on all roads used during the entire journey, including the ‘last mile’.

The roads immediately adjacent to grain receival sites may be subject to lower restrictions on vehicle mass, which is commonly referred to as the ‘last mile’.

Carriers and drivers must take into consideration these ‘last mile’ restrictions when planning off-farm deliveries to Viterra sites as part of their pre-load route assessment. See the journey planner available here.

 Carriers and their drivers should be familiar with the South Australian Grain Carriers Code of Practice which is registered with the NHVR.