Lorry weight curb takes flak

Lorry operators have complained the recent cut in the weight limit for a cargo lorry towing containers will cause their operating costs to surge by 10%.

Yoo Chienyuenyongpong, chairman of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand, said the federation, the Thai Transportation and Logistics Association, the Land Transport Association of Thailand and other transport-related groups will meet tomorrow to work out ways to mitigate the impact on the transport sector.

The new lorry weight limit of 50.5 tonnes, imposed by the Highways and Rural Roads departments, took effect on July 1.

The federation will submit proposals to alleviate the problems of cargo lorry operators to National Council for Peace and Order deputy head ACM Prajin Juntong, the junta’s chief of economic affairs, on Thursday, Mr Yoo said.

Many lorry operators were willing to cooperate over the new weight limit, but they were worried about rising operating costs, particularly between November this year and April next year when agricultural produce must be transported.

Cargo operators have not yet raised their transport fees, but they have already told their customers that fees are likely to go up by 10%, the federation chairman said. 

Prior to July 1, one cargo lorry normally towed two containers, but with the new limit each lorry can only tow one container, he said. Unless authorities help operators, transport fees will have to be raised and this will cause goods prices to rise too, he warned.

Cargo lorries made about one million trips last year. With the weight limit reduced by 7.5 tonnes, Mr Yoo estimated they would have to increase the frequency to 1.4 million trips a year and this would cause operating costs to increase.

Highways Department chief Chatchawan Buncharoenkit said the department was compiling information on the impact of the new weight limit on operators of lorries transporting goods exceeding the legal limit of 50.5 tonnes. 

Before the Asean Economic Community is launched next year, he said the issue needs discussing again as most Asean countries have a weight limit for cargo lorries of only 38 tonnes.

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