Earlier this week the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) launched the Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier (ESSAC) Special Vehicle Configuration Permit Program.
In the initial development stages of Ontario’s ESSAC program there were two configurations being considered based purely on the U.S. model. However, because of their size, these designs had several disadvantages that restrict their operation to an approved road-network – similar to that of Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs) operating in Ontario.
In response, OTA worked with car carrier members to develop configurations that will help the Ontario-based trucking industry and auto manufacturing community stay competitive.
“We have developed a made-in-Canada approach that makes sense for our industry, and for the auto sector. MTO should be applauded for working with our sector to create a productive and safe configuration instead of just doing the easy thing and simply adopting a US standard, which quite frankly, needed some work,” said OTA Senior VP Policy Geoff Wood
The MTO program is a collaborative effort between industry and government, designed to allow Ontario’s heavy truck weights and dimensions to be compatible with recent changes made in the United States (under the FAST Act) while allowing more productive car carrier configurations to operate in Ontario. When introduced in late 2015, the FAST Act allowed for increased vehicle length and overhangs for stinger-steer car carrier configurations.
By introducing the three new configurations under the special vehicle configurations permit program, MTO is providing several options for carriers and automotive shippers moving finished automobiles within Ontario and back and forth across the border between Ontario and neighbouring U.S. jurisdictions.
The third configuration provides similar efficiencies as the pure US designs, but has a longer trailer wheelbase to help address excessive rear overhang concerns, which allows it to travel anywhere in the province and is fully compatible with the U.S. regulatory regime.
Going forward, the permit program will be rolled out in a measured approach that will allow carriers, their equipment suppliers and customers to adjust to the new options now available.
For complete details of the permit program, please click here: ESSAC Program Launch Paper_public
. OTA members with questions can email operations&[email protected]