How many two-wheelers a truck can carry

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2019

Vehicle carriers, automakers lock horns over load-limits

How many bikes can be loaded atop each truck while transportation has emerged a contentious issue that is splitting the auto makers and vehicle carriers. In a recently held internal meeting of the Road Transport Ministry, companies in the business of carrying two-wheelers have complained that auto-manufacturers are forcing them to break the rules by asking them to overload.

Automakers, however, have urged that it’s time the Ministry officially raises the load limit that each truck can carry.

Companies in the business of transporting two-wheelers have said in a meeting held earlier this month that the original equipment manufacturers were “forcing” them to “violate the rule” and load three decks of bikes that makes the loaded truck “over-dimensional”. Those present in the meeting included Chetak Logistics, DSA Freight Carriers, R Sai Logistics, and Honda Two Wheeler Logistics.

Some automakers have argued for increasing the limit for the number of bikes that can be moved in a truck, according to documents seen by BusinessLine. Allowing vehicles to be carried in three decks instead of two, inside a trailer of a truck will allow more vehicles to be carried in the same truck contributing to a greener environment and lower congestion, automakers assert. This is because lesser number of trucks will be used to carry the two-wheelers and this is also within the axle load permitted by the Ministry, noted the Hero Motors representative. Other two-wheeler makers called for clarity from the Ministry on the issue. Representatives from Hero Moto, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter, and Yamaha were present in the meeting.

Safety concern

However, experts feel such decongestion will come at a cost to safety — that of the driver and the road. A study by an IIT professor has found that fabricating a load carrying body over the drivers’ cabin and loading two-wheelers in three decks make the vehicle unstable, which affects road safety.

This claim was supported by quality audit bodies like Automotive Research Association of India and iCAT (international Centre for Automotive Technology) which echoed that such changes make the vehicles unstable and accident prone. They also made it clear that such modifications to the vehicle have not been “approved” by them.

SIAM said while the rules should be maintained, but there should also be scope for innovation. It called for another “study” on the issue.

The Ministry, however, doesn’t seem to be in the favour of increasing the limit. The Ministry representative noted that the Motor Vehicle rules do not permit carrying load on the drivers’ cabin and such practices must be stopped. He added that maximum of two decks within the maximum permitted dimensions are allowed. Ensuring safety of drivers and road safety are non-negotiable, said Priyank Bharti, Joint Secretary, Road Transport Ministry.

Published on February 28, 2019

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