Container weights and Chain of Responsibility Update

Container weights and Chain of Responsibility Update


From early 2014, with push from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, East Coast Australia ports have been the target of vigorous surveillance by main roads and transport authorities with no slowdown in sight. In June 2012 the NSW Roads and Maritime Services, in conjunction with Sydney Ports Corporation, introduced the operation of Weigh In Motion weighbridges at both DP World and Patrick Container Terminals at Port Botany and most recently, in July 2014, DP World Terminal Brisbane introduced WIM in an effort to ensure compliance with local weight limits and operations. While these WIM facilities are mandatory upon exit from these terminals, main roads & transport authorities are still very active in road side stops and re-directions into weight station facilities of Operating Heavy Vehicles with all truck/trailer combinations checked and weighed for total mass and axle groupings which must comply within local legal weight limitations of that combination.

At the Terminal based WIM where a vehicle is found to have exceeded its weight limit in total, or on any axle group by 0 – 20%, the container will be directed to an approved facility for reloading onto a more appropriate truck and trailer combination or it will be required for devanning by an approved facility. Where a vehicle is found to have a substantial breech of axle weight 20% or greater, the terminal operator may remove the container to a nominated inland facility for unpacking. In either case, additional charges would be applicable depending on the nature and severity of the breach which would be handled on a case by case basis.

Road side stops and re-directions into weight station facilities face risk of on the spot fines for minor breaches and notices to appear in court for major breaches. Breaches are based on each axle grouping making it possible to receive multiple fines for the load depending on the truck & trailer .


6T        16.5T                     20T


On average the rear Tri-Axle of a standard semitrailer combination is limited to 20t (16.5t in the case of tandem rear axle) therefore if cargo is not evenly distributed it’s possible the weight limitation of a grouping can be exceeded.

We highly recommend that you become familiar with your obligations under the chain of responsibility legislation with further reading to be found here

SILA, while having arrangements for an approved overweight facility, will not condone any breach of mass limits, the transport company and importer will be marked and monitored by the transport Authority for continual breaches of mass limits which can lead to desktop audits and further penalties.

In order to meet the required mass limits, SILA recommend all customers follow the below limits and only apply to containers which have been directed to us for unpacking. • Safe working limit – 26,000kg GROSS per container (which includes goods and container tare weight) with cargo being evenly distributed. • Safe maximum limit – 26,999kgs GROSS However weight MUST be evenly distributed throughout container • Importers will be liable for all overweight infringements if weight are not evenly distributed and the vehicle is found to exceed mass limits

Overweight Containers in which additional charges will apply • 26,999kg to 30,000kg GROSS • SILA may not legally carry over 30,000kg on any road combination. Containers over this weight are case by case and subject to special equipment and road permits

Please note above refers to containers directed to a SILA facility for unpack. Companion vehicle charges will still be applicable for FCL deliveries to site by sideloader exceeding 23T Gross Weight

Container Weight Declaration (CWD): Under the current National regulations all shipping containers moved by road must have a container weight declaration for the driver. Penalties can be issued to a driver if he is not in possession of a CWD, consignors and importers can also be fined for providing false or misleading information on a CWD.

SILA cannot transport any containers on the road with which we do not have a CWD. Further Information on the requirements for a CWD can be found HERE . SILA has a pro-forma CWD available for clients use upon request, please send an email request to SILA Logistics