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Only one lorry turns up at Labasa Sugar Mill

June 13, 2019 9:17 am

Only one tractor, loaded with cane turned up at the Labasa Sugar Mill at the start of the crushing season yesterday.

Labasa cane lorry drivers had reached a collective agreement yesterday, not to deliver cane unless their concerns on the weight restriction was resolved.

The cane lorry drivers are asking for leniency from the Land Transport Authority.

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The drivers are allowed 16.5 tonnes per load with a maximum height of 11 meters and width of three meters, however over the years, they have been given leniency and allowed more.

But now, the LTA is putting its foot down.

A meeting yesterday between the Association, the LTA and the Fiji Sugar Corporation has determined that the weight restriction will remain at 16.5 tonnes and will not be increased.

However, the LTA is giving cane lorry drivers a three week grace period to carry the extra cane they can while a solution is being discussed.

Labasa Cane Lorry Operators Association General Secretary Mohammed Idris says he will be meeting with lorry drivers today to discuss the result of their meeting.

“We came to a very amicable solution and most probably we will try to liaise with our lorry drivers and just tell them this was our outcome and maybe we will be starting very soon.”

Meanwhile, FSC Chief Executive Graham Clark says while cane lorry drivers are not operating, cane will continued to be supplied on rail and on tractors.

Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty says in the meeting on Tuesday, the Cane Operators Association had pledged support to comply with the maximum gross weight of 16.5 tonnes and to work within this weight limit.

He says a signed letter to this effect has been given by the Association to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Chetty is urging the Lorry operators to take heed of the decision and commence delivery of cane without delay.

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