A transport company in South Australia has been hit with a $100,000 fine for 18 counts of overloading, despite the company being in the process of liquidation.
MSR Transport is the company in question and although the company is in liquidation, the notable fine issued by SA authorities is a warning to the rest of the industry.
In an article on Fullyloaded.com.au, the decision to charge MSR Transport and the message that this action sent to the industry was highlighted. The article also detailed the welcoming of the fine by the South Australia Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).
The company, based in Hamley-Bridge was fined for repeatedly overloading a B-Double during the 2011/2012 grain harvest.
MSR Transport was charged with 18 counts of severe risk breaches of mass for reportedly carrying loads as large as 62.5 tonnes without the necessary accreditation, which had been revoked in November 2011.
Despite the accreditation being revoked just before the harvest season began, the company continued carrying the excessive loads.
The article on Fullyloaded.com.au quoted the DPTI’s acting general manager of operational services, Paul Gelston who said that breaches were both “significant” and “repeated”. Gelston explained:
“We work very closely with industry, particularly around grain harvesting, and to have an operator working outside safe conditions places everyone on the road at risk,” he says.
According to the post, the DPTI’s decision to prosecute was backed by the Elizabeth Magistrates Court who agreed with the $100,000 fine and costs.
The article goes on to explain that the fine may have come too late, particularly to make a difference to the company’s operations. MSR Transport was forced into liquidation by the federal court in November last year and according to liquidator Peter Lanthois, of Korda Mentha, the company had ceased all trading a few months prior to that.
Unfortunately as Lanthois points out, the fines handed down by the courts will be placed on a roster of liabilities to be paid from assets realised but this will not take any priority. He explains that the fines may be completely excluded from the recovery process, as is sometimes the case.
Despite it being too late to make an impact on MSR Transport’s operations, the department and SA Road Transport Association are confident that the fine will send a message to the industry at large, especially to those in the industry who are taking risks related to overloading.
SARTA executive director Steve Shearer also spoke of the message the fine would send to the industry,
“It reiterates what we’ve been telling the industry for ages,” Shearer says.
The post concluded by quoting Gelston once again as he points out that the decision should serve as a warning to all heavy vehicle operators about the importance of complying with the law and recognising that there are serious financial consequences for failing to do so. He explained:
“We welcome the decision by the courts and urge all heavy vehicle operators to do the right thing,” Gelston says.
“For those who don’t – they are lucky if the consequences of their actions are only financial”.
CoR Australia offers training that covers loading and unloading regulations, including a variety of new national laws that are designed to help you make sure that cargo is loaded and appropriately secured and protected for transportation. To learn more about Chain of Responsibility Compliance click here.