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South Africa: 1 January 2019 Deadline in Relation to Road Transportation of High Cube Containers

11:12:3025/10/2018

The "high cube" 12 metre (40 foot) container is 30 centimetres (one foot) taller than the standard or general purpose 12 metre container.The overall height of a normal road transport trailer loaded with a standard or general purpose container is approximately 4.3 metres, which corresponds to the maximum permissible height of 4.3 metres for vehicles travelling on South African public roads. The maximum permissible height of 4.3 metres is prescribed by law, under the National Road Traffic Regulations.  The overall height of a normal road transport trailer loaded with a high cube container is approximately 4.6 metres, so on the face of it, carriage by road of high cube containers is unlawful in South Africa without an abnormal load permit.

This issue has a long history in South Africa, dating back to at least 2009, when the height restriction was suddenly enforced, and trucks carrying high cube containers were impounded by traffic authorities, particularly in the KwaZulu-Natal province within which the major container port of Durban is located.  The "ban" on the carriage by road of high cube containers was lifted, and after extensive consultation between the Road Freight Association ("RFA") and the Department of Transport, a moratorium was put in place in terms of which road transport vehicles were exempted from the 4.3 metre height restriction for a period of 7 years.

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