Industry roundtable tackles safe grape transport

The Chain of Responsibility Roundtable say grapegrowers and wine producers, together with carriers, harvest operators and drivers, must ensure they take all reasonable steps to comply with the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) Laws when their grapes and wine are distributed on roads by heavy vehicles.

Organised in response to industry requests, the roundtable covered learnings and observations from the 2019 vintage in relation to CoR laws.

It included presentations from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) on issues relating to load restraint and spillage, the CoR investigations process and safety on the road. It also provided opportunities for grapegrowers, wine producers and carriers to share ideas and best practice.

Any grapegrower or wine producer that relies on road transport to distribute grapes or wine by a heavy vehicle is required to comply with the CoR laws under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

That includes ensuring that grapes are not overloaded, that the load is safely restrained and that scheduling of work does not influence drivers to speed or drive while fatigued.

“The South Australian wine industry takes compliance with the chain of responsibility very seriously. By better understanding each other’s responsibilities and roles I am hopeful that as an industry we all can work together to ensure the safe transportation and delivery of grapes during the next vintage season,” said Brian Smedley, chief executive of the South Australian Wine Industry Association.

NHVR manager stakeholder relations and customer experience John Gilbert said the roundtable was an important opportunity for the industry to understand their obligations under Chain of Responsibility legislation.

“Grapes spilling off the back of heavy vehicles can make our roads slippery and dangerous for other motorists,” said Gilbert.

“A safe industry is a productive industry. By following CoR obligations, we can significantly reduce potential economic losses from spillage while keeping all road users safe.”

Gilbert said it was great to see the South Australian Wine Industry Association proactively working with the regulator to improve safety on the roads.