Sugar Cane Harvest Management Scheme

Transport for New South Wales in conjunction with Roads and Maritime Services have developed a Sugar Cane Harvest Management Scheme (SCHMS) proposal to assist the NSW sugar industry to efficiently manage the cane transport task during harvest periods.

The SCHMS applies to sugar cane deliveries from plantations to sugar cane mills operated by Sunshine Sugar on approved roads specified by participating councils and across the 4.6m high state road network. The SCHMS will operate across the sugar cane harvest season from June to December. Under the Scheme, eligible vehicles may exceed regulated total mass limits for specific cargo by up to five per cent. Subject to satisfactory compliance this scheme will be extended for future harvest seasons.

Key features of the scheme

  • The scheme offers a mass concession consistent with the Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS)
  • The scheme includes asset protection, safety, and compliance requirements to provide assurity for road managers and the community
  • Vehicles operating under this scheme are only permitted to operate on approved routes on state roads and participating council roads
  • Access is by a permit issued to the transport operator with approved routes specified on the permit
  • Councils have the option to participate in the SCHMS for the complete period or for specific time periods and may also specify access conditions
  • At present one company has been approved to operate under the SCHMS, facilitating their fleet of approximately 35 Semi-trailer combinations access to this concession.

Eligible vehicles

Only eligible prime mover and semi-trailer combinations operated by the transport operator engaged by NSW Sugar may participate in this scheme. Vehicles must be equipped with the following technologies:

  • Certified road friendly suspension on all axle groups of the combination, except the steer axle on the prime mover
  • Vehicles (hauling and trailing units) manufactured on or after 1 July 2015 must be equipped with a roll-over control system.
Diagram of a vehicle showing the SCHMS allowable axle mass and total mass limit scenarios: Steer, 6-6.5t; Tandem, 17t; Tri-axle, 21.63t, Total, 44.63t.
Diagram of a vehicle showing the SCHMS allowable axle mass and total mass limit scenarios: Steer, 6-6.5t; Tandem, 17t; Tri-axle, 21.63t, Total, 44.63t

SCHMS allowable axle mass and total mass limit scenarios

Axle Standard mass limits Standard mass limits + Schedule 3 Standard mass limits + Schedule 3 + NHVAS Standard mass limits + Schedule 3 + NHVAS + Floating 0.5t
Steer Axle 6.0 tonnes 6.5 tonnes 6.0 tonnes 6.25 tonnes
Tandem Axle Group 17.0 tonnes 17.0 tonnes 17.0 tonnes 16.75 tonnes
Tri-axle Group 21.63 tonnes 21.63 tonnes 21.83 tonnes 22.13 tonnes
Total 44.63 tonnes 45.13 tonnes 44.83 tonnes 44.83 tonnes

Approved routes

Eligible vehicles may operate under the SCHMS on approved 4.6m high vehicle routes on state classified roads and participating councils’ roads only. Approved routes will be stated in an appendix to the permit.

Heavy vehicles operating under the SCHMS must not operate on unapproved 4.6m high vehicle roads or on roads, bridges or causeways that have a load limit sign prohibiting access.

The mass limits only apply within NSW borders. Permit vehicles shall comply with mass limits and travel requirements in other states.

Compliance and enforcement

Roads and Maritime will operate an ongoing compliance program.

Penalties may be imposed on one or more of the parties in the chain of responsibility for the load in the following circumstances:

  • Breaches of scheme operating conditions
  • Breaches of scheme axle mass limits and total mass limits
  • Non-compliance with approved routes.

Vehicles or combinations found to be breaching scheme operating conditions will be assessed against the regulated mass limits and penalties will be applied accordingly.

Administration of the scheme

Roads and Maritime will administer the  SCHMS including issuing the first permit on behalf of the NHVR for the 2015 harvest season and auditing collected data for compliance monitoring purposes.

At this present stage there will be no enrolment process or administration fee for the operator or vehicles operating under this scheme.

More information

If you would like further information on this scheme please email

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