English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 5 - 2018 | Page 16

■ All transports weighing more than 90 tonnes GCV must be escorted
the side of the road . Gert Bervoets knows like no other all the details of the Belgian legislation concerning abnormal transport .
HOW ARE EXEMPTIONS ISSUED ? Gert : “ Transport companies can apply for an exemption via WebTeuv . For transports that can take the roads of Network class 90 or Network class 120 and can load / unload within a distance of five km from the route , this is relatively simple . The Networks are not nationwide , so for part of the route an incidental permit must be applied for , the ‘ travel route ’ exemption . Processing this application will take longer if it involves a bridge .”
ON THE MOTORWAY ? Gert : “ Many of the motorways in Belgium were built in the fifties and sixties . In those days building bridges with a traffic bearing capacity of 30 tonnes was the norm . Goods vehicles up to 44 tonnes are already allowed on the motorways these days , but higher weights are not possible at the moment . On some sections of the motorway they sometimes – by way of exception – permit long transports weighing more than 44 tonnes if the distance between the rearmost axle of the tractor and the foremost axle of the towed vehicle is at least 25 metres . New bridges are built to take a total weight of 120 tonnes and an axle weight of 15 tonnes . This shifts the problem to the access roads , which in most cases are not suitable for heavy weights . All abnormal transports with a mass of more than 44 tonnes now take approved secondary roads . This costs time , extra wear , increased fuel consumption and it is less safe . Moreover , it makes the ports of Antwerp , Ostend and Zeebrugge very difficult to reach . Several German manufacturers have already stopped their exports going via Antwerp . If we have too many controls in Antwerp we will find that the heavy transports prefer to go via the port
■ Transports with a length of > 30 m are no longer allowed on the motorway
of Rotterdam . In Belgium the transport companies will have to take the secondary roads for years to come . We want to avoid having to suddenly renovate a great number of bridges – as happened in Germany .”
TECHNICAL DETAILS Gert : “ At the moment in Belgium an application for an exemption is not directly linked to the technical details of a vehicle . In theory it would be possible to ask for an exemption on the registration of a delivery van . We would really like to have a system like the one in the Netherlands , where all vehicles – even the ones from abroad – are registered . We still come across transports with eastern European vehicle documentation that we can hardly read .”
DISTORTION OF COMPETITION Gert : “ With an application for an incidental permit via local roads it can happen that after weeks of waiting a transport operator gets a negative reply to his application for exemption . The transport operator still has to pay a fee as part of the costs . We do understand that construction machinery cannot stand idle for four weeks on end . But personally I find it important that we uphold the system because it is meant to prevent distortion of competition .”
DRIVING TIMES Gert : “ We regularly notice during checks that a driver has slept in a hotel . That often means a second driver card is used . I don ’ t approve but I do understand .