Transporting Water Tanks in New South Wales
The New South Wales water tank industry consists of many manufacturers of both
small and large tanks. The manufacturers specializing in
small tanks are mostly
based in Sydney, while the manufacturers of
larger tanks are typically located
outside of Sydney. These locational differences often mirror the locations of
the customers who purchase the tanks.
Small water tanks delivered in Sydney are mostly less than 5000 litres in capacity and are usually delivered by couriers who work for one or more of the tank manufacturers. These tanks are generally no heavier than 120 kilos. They can be made of polyethylene, Aquaplate steel or stainless steel and be either round or slimline tanks. Underground poly tanks up to 5000 litres are also available. Mostly they are delivered within the metropolitan area in which they are manufactured, although some of Rainwater Tanks Direct’s Sydney-based suppliers will deliver as far north as Newcastle, and as far south as Canberra.
Large water tanks sold into rural or mining applications can be manufactured
with a capacity up to 50000 litres in polyethylene or 37000 litres in Aquaplate
or stainless steel. A 50000 litre
poly water tank will weigh about 1000 kilos
when empty. Manufacturers who deal in large tanks are equipped to deliver them
hundreds of kilometres from where they are made. In order for these tank
deliveries to be made successfully, it is important that they are carefully
planned and State Government guidelines for transporting large or oversized
loads are taken into account.
The New South Wales Government, through the Roads and Traffic Authority, has published guidelines for the operation of companies which transport large “non-divisible” items such as water tanks. “Non-divisible” items are those that cannot be broken down into any smaller parts. The publication is called Operating Conditions: Specific permits for oversize and over-mass vehicles and loads. You can find this document here (link is in .pdf form).This 56 page document clearly sets out the rules for operating Class 1 vehicles that can or are on NSW roads. “Class 1” is a designation made by the NSW Government and the RTA which includes which covers trucks and trailers used to deliver large water tanks.
Manufacturers of large water tanks are likely to have their own transport fleets, which are occasionally supplemented by the use of contractors. In NSW an oversize load is one where either; the height of the load is more than 4.3 metres but no more than 5.0 metres, or the width is greater than 2.5 metres but no wider than 3.5 metres. The vehicles used to deliver large water tanks consist of a truck and trailer up to a maximum of 19 metres in length. As a result, most tanks over 20000 litres are classified as oversized loads and require a specific trip permit. On some restricted roads a pilot is also needed, adding to the cost and complexity of delivering such tanks which are often delivered up to 600 kilometres from their place of manufacture.
Because of the long distances travelled, the drivers are required by their employers to complete a course in ‘Basic Fatigue Management’ out of concern for the safety of both the drivers and all other road users.