High cube reprieve

Transport minister, Blade Nzimande. Source: GCIS

High cube containers will continue to be transported on South African roads at a height of 4.6m for the next year following a last-minute decision by Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande.

This comes after an emergency meeting in Cape Town on Thursday between Nzimande and several industry stakeholders.

According to Mike Walwyn, chairman of the Cape’s Port Liaison Forum (PLF), Nzimande was accompanied by the deputy minister of transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, and the acting director general, Chris Hlabisa – a clear indication of the importance of the matter to the Department of Transport (DoT).

But, he said, having been given less than 24-hours’ notice of the meeting, several key role-players in the high cube issue from industry could not attend due to prior commitments.

Despite this, Walwyn said the meeting had been extremely positive resulting in a much-needed reprieve for industry.

According to regulation 224 (b) of the National Road Traffic Regulation Act containers, when transported on the back of a trailer, may not exceed a height of 4.3m. This is not a problem for standard containers that are 2.6m high. High cubes, however, have an overall height of 2.9m so that when transported on the back of a trailer they exceed the 4.3m height limitation by 30cm at 4.6m.

In 2011 government issued a moratorium giving blanket exemption for the transportation of these containers at 4.6m. But, with this set to be lifted on January 1 next year, industry has been lobbying the DoT to revoke the moratorium and amend the height legislation from 4.3m to 4.6m.

Whilst Nzimande did not do this, he did give industry a much-needed reprieve by issuing a year-long moratorium on the application of punitive measures.

This means that industry can continue to move high cubes at a height of 4.6m until January 1, 2020.

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