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SHOULD Higher Capacity Mobile LPG Road Tankers Be ALLOWED?

Published on 23rd October 2010

Proposal to encourage Operationally Safe & Economical Management for LPG Transportation Business is being studied by Oil Companies as informed by KKTC Autotech (I) Limited Director Mr. Shashikant Kumbhar.

It is learnt that KKTC Autotech (I) Limited working closely with CIMC Vehicle Group Co. Ltd (CIMC) after getting their workshop approved from Department of Explosive, Nagpur and has approached Department with designs to type approve their proposal to allow Higher Capacity LPG Road Tankers which presently is restricted to 18 MT capacity only.

Transport Equipments available to LPG Transport Industry are guided by restriction imposed by PESO (Petroleum & Explosive Safety Organization) previously called Office of The Chief Controller of Explosives, Nagpur.

PESO (CCOE) vide its letter ref PV(T) G/IV/97 dated 12.10.1998 had restricted maximum capacity of Mobile Pressure vessels to 40000 Liters WC or 18 MT whichever was lower.

Intent of such restriction; arose due to prevailing road conditions and type and size of Tractors available at that point of time i.e. 1998. Since many Fabricators of Pressure Vessel had different ideas about different Capacities and there was always pressing view to limit the hazard on Road due to transportation of compressed & liquefied Gases; Department of Explosive had to standardize the size of Tankers and restricted their capacities to 18 MT for LPG and 40000 Liters for Propane/Ammonia.

Factually in the year 1998 virtually there were no Tractors available which could haul more than 35.2 GVW with rear two or more Axles Semi Trailers. Therefore need to restrict 2 Axle Tanker Trailers was justified and LPG Mobile Tankers of 18 MT capacity was restricted with available 35.2 MT Haulage Tractors most possible combination.

In the year 2000-01 M/s VOLVO introduced Higher Capacity Tractor with GCW 40.2 MT and with this Tractor PESO formally allowed an in principle approval to transport 21 MT or so capacity of LPG Mobile Tanker which was possible with 3 Axles Semi-Trailer Combination as per Motor Vehicle Act . But commercially price of Volvo Tractor was so high that made them unviable proposition and these did not come into existence.

Higher Capacity Tanker Trailers i.e. more than 18 MT or 40000 Liters W.C. was acceptable to Department of Explosives even at that time as Water Capacity/Pay Load was/is not restricted by any Act of Parliament, Design Code and or SMPV(U)Rules governing control of Design of Mobile Pressure Vessels. In fact whole word is working with 40.2/44.2/49 MT GVW combinations. Even Motor Vehicle Act which governs proposals allowed it then and even now. It was only this Departmental Circular dated 19/10/1998 as stated above which was guideline to restrict capacities since there were no Prime Movers Tractors more than 35.2 MT Capacity available at that time. Need to limit capacity was felt by Department as many fabricators were making designs with different Water Capacities on one pretext or other and so this Circular was made and capacity of Mobile Tanker was restricted.

It was informed that KKTC made presentation to PESO that in the year 2008-09 (Only Last Year) particularly Jan-March 2008 TATA, ASHOK LEYLAND, AMW, EICHER have introduced many Higher Capacity versions of Prime Mover Tractors to haul 40.2 MT / 49.2 MT GCW with Rear 3 Axle Semi Trailers. Prices of these vehicles are affordable and commercially viable. General Cargo Trailers and other Liquid Tanker Trailers which are not governed by PESO are successfully running on Indian Roads everywhere with these Tractors. It makes very fit case to allow Higher Capacity LPG Tankers also.

Road Conditions all over the country are far more improved with Highways and Roads and even Expressway are far better now in the year 2009 in comparison to 1998.

Technically speaking Multi Axle Vehicles are design wise more beneficial to Roads from point of view of Load Distribution on Axles and therefore Multi Axles vehicles are safer for Roads as it exerts lower loads on roads per Axle. In case of two Axles Trailers where it is 9.5 MT per Axle for 3 Axles combination it becomes 8 MT per Axle.

KKTC further claims that their proposal offers more efficient and most cost effective solutions to the country. Market demands and Industrialization can not be expanded or grown or STIMULATED (particularly in this recessionary markets) without our adopting to modern technologies and bringing in innovative and most economical and improved methods of Transportation. KKTC feels that their proposal is of similar kind.

KKTC proposal considers every aspect “especially “SAFETY FIRST” motto of INDUSTRY as the top most agenda”.

Further these steps will bring –
 No. of Tanker Trailers on Road will be reduced as increased capacity will reduce No of such Vehicles and therefore risk on Roads due to Lower Number of Vehicles will get reduced – Theory of Probability. Lesser the Numbers Lesser the Risk. Theoretically Estimate is that 50% vehicles can be reduced on roads.
 In past Old Vehicles were manufactured with available Non Standard Trailer Components like Axles/Suspensions/King Pins etc. which were used were without any regulated quality controls and are resulting in Breakdowns, Accidents and Failures on Road and these will get replaced with most modern technology oriented Trailer Components with Tested , Safe and with Rated Capacities with accountability and responsibilities resulting in lesser Breakdowns, Accidents and Failures which your major concern. Most Modern Air Suspensions are also available and that is desired system for movement of Hazardous and Liquid Cargoes and even ABS in Brake System can also be incorporated.
 At present Safety Fittings are installed with Lesser Supports and their Fixing Systems which are found inducing lot of Vibrations and are Under Protected resulting in Shearing of EFCV and resulting in Leakages. By our proposal FFCV Fittings can be Better Placed to overcome Safety measure needed urgently as per Recommended Standards of INDUSTRY in present circumstances.
 Emergency Shut Off Valve with EFCV system being introduced by Chandra World and Others. Further Installation position of Liquid and Vapor Lines are redesigned to meet most SAFE PRACTICES and even if any other suggestion if required by INDUSTRY on this matter can be implemented to improve SAFETY.
 With lesser No. of Tanker Trailers the Reduced Operations of Loading or Unloading like Coupling & Decoupling, Invoicing, Tracking , Traffic/Congestion at Refineries can be reduced/ induced by reducing No. of Operations at many levels even saving substantial Operation cost to Oil Marketing Companies.
 Safe Parking problem also can be resolved due to reduced No of Tankers. As we feel with introduction of Higher Capacity Tankers Lower Capacity Tankers will be replaced over the period of time as they will become economically unviable.
 PESO requirements of Stability Ratio less than 0.90 against present less than 1 will also bring in enhanced SAFETY which is still not being implemented with respect to Old Designs and Drawings already in use.
 Operational Efficiencies- Reducing the cost of transportation for OMC or Govt. of India. Nearly saving almost 30-35% Transportation cost. Therefore cutting down Transportation Subsidy cost being incurred by Government of India.
 Lower Dead Weight to Payload Ratios better Fuel utilization saving precious Fuel Resources.
 Air Suspensions with Lift Axle Kit can also be introduced which can further reduce operational expenses like Tyre cost as well as saving precious Fuel by saving of Fuel efficiencies.

KKTC further informs that they have made close survey of Transport Operators who are willing to invest in New Generation Tanker Trailers as proposed by them and response is over helming and many wish to make their Operations more Efficient and are ready for new investments for Safe and Economical Operations.

Department of Explosive have forwarded Oil Industry and sought opinion of the user Oil Industry if proposal is User Oriented and if it is operationally feasible to adopt existing infrastructure to load/unload these proposed Higher Capacity Tankers so as to take further action on this matter. If Oil Companies consents and proposal is falling within existing Motor Vehicle Act as well as adoptable to Loading and Unloading Stations as per Industrial Facilities within Safety Guidelines proposal to introduce Higher Capacity Tankers can see light of the day.

KKTC strongly opines that permitting these machines can save at least Rs.500 Crores p.a. of LPG Transportation cost reducing subsidy burden on Government at large.

KKTC opines that Operational Efficiencies can save lot of Wastages and Better Productivity can be achieved which is necessary for Nation Building.

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