After a gap of three decades, the government will increase the maximum axle load of heavy vehicles by 20-25% to bring it on a par with international norms. This will be a big boost to logistics and trucking industry and is likely to reduce the transportation cost of goods.
At present, a two-axle truck (two wheels in the front axle and four wheels in the rear) is allowed to carry 16.2 tonnes including the vehicle weight. This would be increased to 19 tonnes. Similarly, there would be about 25% increase in the load for each additional axle in heavy vehicles, which is at present nine tonnes.
Allowed load of an axle is the maximum pressure between tyre and the road.
Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari discussed this issue with all the private highway developers to bring them on board to avoid future arbitrations.
Sources said that most of the road builders admitted the construction quality has improved and overloading up to 100% is common.
They added truckers often avoid stretches where road builders collect 10-fold toll from overloaded trucks. Officials said the transport ministry would introduce graded penalty linked to the scale of overloading as a deterrence.