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New GB1589-2016 on vehicle dimension, axle load and mass limits goes into effect

The much-awaited GB1589-2016, or Limits for Dimensions, Axle Loads and Masses of Automobiles, Trailers and Combination Vehicles, was approved and published by the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the Standards Administration of China (SAC) on July 26 and went into effect on the same day.

GB1589-2016 replaces GB1589-2004, or Limits for Dimensions, Axle Loads and Masses of Road Vehicles, a national compulsory standard that has been in effect since October 1, 2004.

The new standard defines the overall sizes and weight limits of automobiles, trailer and combination vehicles, applicable to all vehicles on roads and serving as one of the most fundamental technical standards in the auto industry.

In 2004, to collaborate with the oversize and overload control of relevant national departments targeted at vehicles on roads, AQSIQ and SAC released GB 1589-2004. It has served as powerful support for the supervision and administration of links such as road notice management, registration and enforcement on roads, playing a positive role in the healthy development of auto products and stable operation of the transport industry. However, with the rapid development of domestic transport industry and the constant emergence of new vehicle types, GB1589-2004 limited vehicle transport and special-purpose vehicle operations, hindering the promotion of new vehicle models technologies, also unable to adapt to changes in the form of tariffs for road transport.

As a result, in June 2012, AQSIQ and SAC issued the modification plan for GB1589-2004. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) organized over 20 large-scale industry seminars, over 10 coordination meetings among departments and sought consultations extensively from relevant authorities, industrial institutions and enterprises as well as other social communities. Besides, it organized over 200 test demonstrations, with over 100 clearance circle tests for center axle vehicle transport; it also organized project demonstration for vehicle transport semi-trailers, clearance circle tests contrast between long-nose and conventional vehicles as well as real-time operation test of vehicles, validating each indicator in the standard in a scientific and precise way. In July 2015, the draft of the standard was released for comments. It was then approved by technical review on October 22, 2015, submitted to the WTO from April to June of 2016 for approval and was put into effect on July 26.

Besides the name change, other notable changes in the updated GB1589 include an increase of vehicle width from 2.5m to 2.55m (2.6m for refrigeration vehicles); inclusion of center axle vehicle transport semi-trailers; increase of semi-trailer length from 13m to 13.75m; and new length of 17.1m for articulated combination vehicles (18.1m for long-nose articulated combination vehicles).


Six key changes

GB1589-2016 features six key changes.

First, the length limit of semi-trailers is increased from 13m to 13.75m, with the maximum length of semi-trailers transporting 45-feet containers extended to 13.95m. Length limits for enclosed boxed semi-trailers, low-flat bed semi-trailers and container semi-trailers are eliminated, while front turning radius of semi-trailers should not be over 2,040 mm.

Second, to regulate the domestic car transport vehicle market, the center axle vehicle transport semi-trailer is added into the standard with a specified length limit of 12m; as for the center axle vehicle transport combination vehicles, the length limit is set at 22m and they can carry size 8-10 passenger vehicles (large and medium to medium and small). This provides higher transport efficiency compared with previous vehicle transport semi-trailers within legally defined standard.

Third, the length of center axle and tractor semi-trailers is 12m with a container length limit of 8m (excluding center axle vehicle transport trailers). It also specifies that combination vehicles composed of draw-bar trailers belongs to the truck category with combination vehicle length no more than 20m.

Fourth, the length limit of articulated combination vehicles is increased from 16.5m to 17.1m; the length limit of long-nose articulated combination vehicles (tractor+semi-trailers) is 18.1m, which promotes the development of the domestic long-nose market to some extent.

Fifth, width limit of vehicles has been widened from 2.5m to 2.55m, mainly to satisfy the width demand for vehicles to load two-row pallets. For refrigeration vehicles, width limit is widened to 2.6m considering they have thicker insulation layers. 

Sixth, the maximum weight limit is also defined for vehicles with different number of axles in the new standard. The maximum weight limits of two-axle trucks and semi-trailer tractors is 18 tons, three-axle trucks and semi-trailer tractors 25 tons, double-steering axles and four-axle trucks 31 tons, four-axle combination vehicles 36 tons, five-axle combination vehicles 43 tons and six-axle combination vehicles 49 tons.

GB1589 affects the entire process of vehicle production, sales, operation and administration, is closely related to many industries like auto manufacturing, traffic management, road design, logistics transport, construction machinery and oil exploration. It is also connected with responsibilities of departments including industry and information technology, public security, transport and quality assurance, serving as the basic technical base of road administration and traffic management for many years. The issuance and implementation of the new GB1589 standard will forcefully promote the supply-side reform of logistics traffic equipment, support the control of car transporting vehicles, illegal truck conversion and the oversize and overloading of trucks. In this way, it will propel the promotion of new models that meet the standard, drive the production and consumption of logistics industry, and satisfy the demand of R&D, production and starting off of vehicles for special operations. It is certain to play an important role in leading the design and manufacturing upgrade of vehicles and trailers, enhancing the security management of road traffic, regulating the development of transport market, raising the efficiency of road transport and safeguarding economic order.

MIIT will coordinate with relevant departments in actively promoting the implementation of this new standard, strengthen the production and market access administration of vehicles, carry out special tasks of controlling oversize and overloading, enhancing the quality supervision in production and logistics, as well as facilitate the sustainable and health development of the auto and transport industries.

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