1. What is Flexible HML Usage?

Flexible HML Usage recognises that transport operators have different needs when it comes to utilising Higher Mass Limits (HML) access made available through the IAP.

Flexible HML Usage identifies three broad levels of use:

Infrequent use

Occasional use

Consistent use

Flexible HML Usage responds to the diverse needs of different transport operators by catering for different levels of HML use.

2. Why has Flexible HML Usage been introduced?

For a number of transport operators, only a small proportion of their trips are loaded to HML.

The productivity gains from infrequent or occasional HML use are not always sufficient to cover the cost of IAP enrolment, compared to those transport operators with a consistent level of HML use.  

3. What access arrangements does Flexible HML Usage apply to?

Flexible HML Usage is available to transport operators which utilise eligible vehicles for HML applications (New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia).

4. How does TCA recognise different types of transport operators using HML? 

TCA has introduced ‘use levels’ which recognise that transport operators have different needs when it comes to HML loadings.

For infrequent and occasional HML use, TCA will reduce its monthly Operational Fee (which covers the ongoing costs of auditing IAP services provided by IAP Service Providers) on a per vehicle basis.

For consistent HML usage, there is no change to current arrangements. 

HML usage

Level of usage

(per vehicle, per month)

Operational Fee

(per vehicle, per month)

excl GST

Infrequent use

Up to 1 HML load/trip per month

$0

Occasional use

Up to 5 HML loads/trips per month

$10

Consistent use

Unlimited HML usage

$39

 

TCA anticipates that:

  • Any cost savings made available for infrequent and occasional users through the reduced Operational Fee will be passed on by IAP Service Providers
  • IAP Service Providers are able to offer more flexible options for both individual vehicles and transport operator fleets.

5. How can Flexible HML Usage benefit transport operators?

Flexible HML Usage can benefit transport operators where:

  • There is only an infrequent or occasional need to transport HML loads
  • Prior decisions have been made not to enrol vehicles in the IAP on cost grounds
  • There is an opportunity to increase the flexibility of fleet utilisation, by having a greater number of vehicles enrolled in the IAP to allow loading to HML, when and as required.

Additionally, for those with fleets, Flexible HML Usage may enable transport operators to enrol multiple vehicles – if not all of their vehicles – into the IAP.

Defining a HML Load/Trip

6. What is the definition of a HML load/trip?

A HML load/trip involves the transportation of a load, the total mass of which exceeds Concessional Mass Limits (CML) up to and including HML, by an eligible vehicle enrolled in the IAP.

7. How is a HML load/trip determined?

Loading information is recorded by transport operators through the Mass Management Module of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) – using the Self Declaration function of the IAP. The number of HML loads/trips will be determined by the number of Self Declaration entries on the Total Combination Mass (TCM) exceeding CML (according to the type of eligible vehicle). The following NHVAS information can be recorded through the Self Declaration function of the IAP:

  • Vehicle configuration
  • Total Combination Mass (TCM) in tonnes.

Self declarations of vehicle configuration and TCM must be made at the beginning of each trip and/or whenever there is a change in the configuration and/or load.

Further information on the NHVAS Mass Management Module can be found here:
www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/nat-heavy-vehicle-accreditation-scheme

8. How is the number of HML loads/trips carried by a vehicle calculated each month?

The number of HML loads/trips will be determined by the number of Self Declaration entries on the Total Combination Mass (TCM) exceeding CML (according to the type of eligible vehicle).

9. Is there a difference between short and long loads/trips?

For the purposes of calculating the Operational Fee for different levels of HML use there is no difference between short and long loads/trips.

10. How will pick-ups and/or deliveries during a journey be treated?

In circumstances where pick-ups and/or deliveries occur between an origin and a destination, only that portion of a journey where the vehicle’s Total Combination Mass (TCM) exceeds CML up to and including HML will be deemed a HML load/trip.

11. What happens if loads are under declared? 

Under declaring of loads through the NHVAS and the IAP will be considered a breach of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws.

12. What happens if loads are not declared at all?

Where NHVAS loading information is not entered into the IAP, it will be assumed that the vehicle is loaded to HML.

13. Why is there a cap of five (5) trips per month for occasional HML use? 

TCA engaged an independent economist to consult with a number of transport operators, including the initial three operators involved in the Entry Options initiative.

Initial background research suggests that transport operators with a consistent level of HML use could recover the monthly enrolment costs of IAP by performing one (1) to five (5) HML trips per month, depending on the type of loads being carried and the length of trips.

Although the cost profile for each transport operator is different, the feedback received by TCA from transport operators indicates that the full monthly enrolment of the IAP can be recovered by performing one (1) to two (2) long-distance trips, or three (3) to five (5) short-distance trips.

The cap therefore recognises that vehicles carrying more than five (5) HML trips per month will generally obtain a sufficient commercial benefit – over and above General Mass Limits (GML) or Concessional Mass Limits (CML) loads – to be considered as having a consistent level of IAP use.

14. Are transport operators able to provide feedback on Flexible HML Usage?

TCA recognises the diversity across the transport sector, and welcomes feedback from the transport and logistics sector on Flexible HML Usage.

TCA will review the framework to ensure that Flexible HML Usage is providing the greatest benefits to the largest possible number of transport operators.

Other Questions

15. With respect to vehicles already enrolled in the IAP under a HML Application – can Flexible HML Usage apply to these vehicles?

Yes. The number of HML loads/trips will be determined by the number of Self Declaration entries on the Total Combination Mass (TCM) exceeding CML (according to the type of eligible vehicle).

However,  it is recognised that vehicles  already enrolled in the IAP for HML access – under current arrangements and prior to the introduction of Flexible HML Usage – are likely to have a consistent level of HML use.

16. Does Flexible HML Usage change the way IAP monitoring is performed?

No. Flexible HML Usage does not change:

  • The way IAP monitoring services are provided by IAP Service Providers to transport operators
  • What information is sent to regulators from IAP Service Providers.

17. What do drivers need to know?

Drivers need to be informed when a vehicle is enrolled in the IAP – IAP Service Providers can assist in providing an in-vehicle notice for drivers.

Transport operators need to provide drivers with information about the IAP so they understand their obligations when transporting a HML load.

18. What do staff engaged in management and operations need to know?

Transport operators with staff engaged in management and operations roles need to:

  • Ensure they understand that all parties in the supply chain must comply with CoR laws regarding mass limits
  • Ensure they understand the obligations for operating under both NHVAS and the IAP
  • Ensure they understand the opportunities for infrequent and occasional use.

19 What if a HML load/trip spans across months?

Each HML load/trip is allocated to the month in which the commencement of the trip originated.

For example, where a HML load/trip commences at 7pm on 31 October and concludes at 7am on 1 November, the trip will be allocated to the month of October. 

20. Can the number of trips (for infrequent and occasional users) be averaged out across months?

The averaging of trips for infrequent and occasional users is not provided for by TCA in the calculation of its monthly Operational Fee.

However, IAP Service Providers can offer different options to meet the diverse needs of transport operators.

21. Are consistent users of HML subsidising the costs of infrequent and occasional users?

No.  There is no cross-subsidisation of costs between different levels of HML use – there is no increase in the monthly Operational Fee for consistent HML use to offset the reduced monthly Operational Fee for infrequent and occasional use.

Further Information

22. Where can I obtain further information on Flexible HML Usage?

Please visit www.tca.gov.au.