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Cape Chamber warns of losses to fruit industry over container transport ban

The Department of Transport says these containers should only be permitted on special, low-bed trailers for safety reasons.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is warning of losses to the fruit industry if a ban on the transport of shipping containers on standard truck trailers is enforced.

The Department of Transport says these containers should only be permitted on special, low-bed trailers for safety reasons.

The regulation is expected to come into effect in January 2019.

The Chamber says the ban will also cause congestions of trucks at border posts because the regulation does not apply in neighbouring countries.

When loaded on to normal trailers, the shipping containers exceed the maximum height permitted on South African roads by 30 centimetres.

President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce Janine Myburgh says the safety concerns are unwarranted.

“These containers have been in use for more than seven years and we are unaware of any incidents or accidents involving unstable loads in the new containers. It would, therefore, seem that there is no justification for the original fears.”

She says it will also be costly for small companies which export fruit, to convert their trailers, which is estimated at around R300,000.

Many farmers are already battling the effects of the drought.

“in addition, packing sheds and loading facilities have been designed for standard trailers, and converting them to serve low-bed trailers is another high cost that drought-stricken farmers cannot afford.”

The Chamber wants Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to reconsider the directive, and to grant an exemption to the height regulations as is the case for car carriers and double-decker buses.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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