Minister without portfolio, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy announced a temporary 20% increase on the axle weight limit that trucks are allowed to carry. The announcement was made on Wednesday April 2, 2014 at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue Head Office.

Under this new dispensation, there will be a 20% increase in maximum laden axle weight (the maximum weight applicable to a particular vehicle based on its design) limit on trucks. This translates to increasing the permissible axle loads to 12 tonnes (from 10 tonnes) on the rear axle and 6 tonnes (from 5 tonnes) on the front axles. Notwithstanding the 20% increase however, it should be noted that the maximum laden weight of a truck should not exceed the weight fixed by the manufacturer.

Speaking at the Press Briefing to announce the increase, Minister Morais Guy pointed out that the permissible weight and axle loads for vehicles using the nation’s roadways are governed by the provisions of the Road Traffic Act and Regulations. He said that he noticed however, that several owners and operators had ignored the provisions of the Act because of ‘the practical limitations of conducting business within the harsh economic climate.”

Continuing, the Minister said, “In this regard, efforts have been made to determine a suitable compromise position that can provide a cushion and some degree of temporary relief until weight limits can be effectively enforced across the country, thereby not placing any particular geographical business interest at a significant economic disadvantage.”

In speaking to the issue of the impact of overweight trucks on the road, Minister Guy explained that, “this has had a tremendous impact on the deterioration of our roadways and we have sought to bring the operators into a partnership effort that will result in a satisfactory solution for all.”

Also speaking at the function was Mr. Leonard Green, President of the All Island Truckers Association who thanked Minister Guy and other members of the Ministry for their intervention in addressing the plight of the truckers. Mr Green noted that he and his organisation support the weight limit programme and are in support of any programme to maintain the integrity of the roads. He said he hoped this 20% increase in the axle weight limit would pave the way for future discussions.

For his part, Managing Director of Jamaica Pre-Mix Concrete Ltd said that he would like to see a situation where steps are taken to enforce weight limits across the island. He said that this latest move by the Government is a demonstration that ‘the Government listens and we stand ready to work along with them.”  

Ludlow Powell, Director of the Island Traffic Authority, one of the critical stakeholders in the initiative, said that he was imploring all truckers to comply with the weight limit especially now that there was an increase in the axle weight limit. He advised the truckers that if they had any challenges with respect to the weight limit programme, they should contact the Island Traffic Authority.  

The increase in axle weight limit takes immediate effect.