New South Wales – Container Weights

New South Wales – Container Weights

Due to a problem with overweight vehicles carrying import containers entering the road network via Australian Ports, the infrastructure has been impacted with increased pavement wear, maintenance and upgrade costs.    It has also become a serious safety issue for all road network users when vehicles are loaded in in excess of their legal mass limits.

In 2009, the New South Wales (NSW) Roads and maritime Service (RMS) issued formal improvement notices to the port stevedores (DP World and Patrick) requiring the stevedores – as a “Loader” and their position in the “Chain of Responsibility” (CoR) – to take appropriate action to prevent a reach of a mass requirement by vehicles they have loaded, pursuant to section 100 of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005.  The legislation does not provide for the role of an “Unloader” for mass, dimension or load restraint.  Therefore, the improvement notices do not cover vehicles carrying the export containers, unloaded by the stevedores.

CoR is a key principle in the road transport agenda of the Federal Government and it is aimed at improving compliance across all parties in the transport chain in relation to mass, dimension, load restraint, speed and fatigue.

Weigh in Motion Weighbridges at Port Botany

As both DP World and Patrick’s roll out there weigh in motion scales under the chain of responsibility legislation, Carriers have had to revisit the axle weights that trucks are legally able to carry.

With the weigh in motion scales trucks are measured on axle weights so it depends on how the container is packed and how the weight distributes over the axles.

Acceptable container weights

Side loader – 21.5 tonne gross

Standard 20′ – 25.5 tonne gross

Standard 40′ – 27.5 tonne gross


GROSS = Cargo plus Container Tare Weight

These Weights are subject to the container being packed with the weights distributed evenly through the container and the axle weights are correct from the weigh in motion scales.

Overweight Breaches

In the instance where a breach on any axles is detected, the following will be applied, depending on the severity of the breach:

  • If a yellow light applies, the option of going to a CFS and turning he container to help with weight distribution, a re-way at public weighbridge to verify if axle weight are correct.  Should weight still be over limit, container needs to be delivered back to CFS or unpack.
  • Going to CFS and having the container lifted off for an unpack if weight cannot be redistributed
  • If a red light is received, indicates a severe breach and container is not permitted to leave the terminal.  Container is lifted off by the terminal.