MoRTH Notifies Increase In Truck Axle Load; SIAM Welcomes Move, Cautiously

MoRTH Notification Increase Truck Axle Load SIAM
MoRTH Notifies Increase In Truck Axle Load; SIAM Welcomes Move, Cautiously

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) today issued a notification regarding the increase in permissible truck axle load in the country. As per the amended rules, the maximum safe axle weight of each axle type for transport vehicles other than motor cabs have been increased by 20-25 %. The amendment also lays down that the gross vehicle weight (GVW) will not exceed the total permissible safe axle weight. The GVW shall also not exceed 49 tonnes in case of rigid vehicles and 55 tonnes in case of semi-articulated trailers and truck-trailers except modular hydraulic trailers.

The Maximum Safe Axle Weight for each category of transport vehicle is below:

Sl. No.

Axle Type

Maximum Safe Axle Weight


Single Axle



Single Axle with single Tyre

3.0 tonnes


Single Axle with two Tyres

7.5 tonnes


Single Axle with four Tyres

11.5 tonnes*





Tandem Axles (Two axles) (where the distance between two axles is less than 1.8 meters)



Tandem axle for rigid vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers

21 tonnes*


Tandem axle for Puller tractors for hydraulic and pneumatic trailers

28.5 tonnes





Tri–axles (Three axles) (where the distance between outer axles is less than 3 metres)



Tri-axle for rigid vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers

27 tonnes*





Axle Row (two axles with four tyres each) in Modular Hydraulic trailers

18 tonnes


(9 tonnes load shall be permissible for single axle)


*If the vehicle is fitted with pneumatic suspension, 1 tonne extra load is permitted for each axle.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said this increase in the maximum permissible axle load on trucks is a move in right direction, which will improve the efficiency of commercial transport in the country. However, in the absence of adequate enforcement of rated load compliance in the field, prevalent practices of rampant overload could pose serious road safety threats, which may necessitate government issuing suitable advisories for better clarity. This notification does away with the present CMVR table of tyres and axle combination against permissible GVW. However, the notification also raises some concerns related to safety, applicable date of the change and the readiness of the supply chain, SIAM observed.

SIAM said that the existing vehicles on the road are not certified for safety with the higher axle loads. Therefore, this provision should not allow existing vehicles with higher loads, else it will tantamount to legalising the wrong practice of overloading vehicles. These overloaded vehicles may not be able to meet the mandatory braking and steering performance requirements, leading to safety issues on the road. The new norms should be applicable only to the new vehicles which are certified by the test agencies from the safety point of view, the industry body observed.

The notification regarding higher loads on vehicles will also require upgraded tyres and new specifications of the axles for which the supply chain also needs to gear up, SIAM noted. In addition, absence of the date of implementation of this notification would also come as a barrier to the industry. SIAM said that as BS VI vehicles development is in full swing, OEMs and the supply chain would need some time to upgrade product designs and certify these new vehicles. It notified that 1 April 2020, which aligns with the introduction of BS VI vehicles, would be more appropriate to put this motion into effect.

Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said this decision was taken to help in increasing the carrying capacity of goods transport vehicles and bring down logistics cost. The amendment will increase the carrying capacity of goods vehicles by about 20-25 % and lower logistics costs by about 2 %, he added. Gadkari further said that while automobile technology and road construction quality have improved greatly over the years, the axle loads have remained the same since 1983 when they were last notified.

Dr Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM, said that globally, higher axle loads are permitted which enables higher efficiencies in the goods transport industry. In India lower axle loads and lower vehicle speeds were allowed due to the inability of the road and highway infrastructure to support higher loads or speeds, he added. Firodia noted that the modernisation of India’s roads and highways makes it natural for Government to look at higher load carrying capacities in trucks.