Major changes to the certificate of fitness regime are cutting compliance costs and opening up new commercial opportunities for transport operators around the country.
Significant changes introduced following the first review of the Certificate of Fitness (CoF) regime in over a decade are aimed at increasing vehicle productivity and reducing costs for owners and operators, while maintaining or improving road safety.
From 1 July 2014, the Transport Agency has been able to reward vehicle operators whose vehicles have shown a consistently high level of safety compliance by offering them 12 month CoF inspections for heavy vehicles that meet certain criteria.
This has already resulted in demonstrable benefits for Hawkes Bay transport operator Nimon & Sons. Pete Patterson, General Manager, estimates that the company will save more than $12,000 with 70 vehicles in their fleet moving from the standard six month to a 12 month CoF inspection cycle.
Mr Patterson said the company was targeting further efficiencies: “We want to see more of our vehicles move to 12 month CoFs. That’s about showing our maintenance programme is working. We’re a five star operator because we work hard to keep our vehicles up to scratch, so we expect to see further savings.”
The new CoF environment also provides Nimon & Sons with opportunities to grow its business and reduce operating costs. The company is preparing to take advantage of further CoF regime changes which took effect on 1 December this year. Inspection providers are now able to offer both CoF inspections and related servicing at the same site, and more inspection sites can enter the CoF market.
Nimon & Sons has recently scheduled engineering work to bring its heavy vehicle workshop in line with the Transport Agency’s requirements for CoF inspection sites. While the new regulations do not allow for self-inspection, Mr Patterson calculates that on-site inspections of its fleet by an independent VTNZ inspector will deliver significant cost savings.
“Cutting out the dead running and staff time involved in sending vehicles from our depot to an inspection site would save us a lot of money when you look at CoF costs over our whole fleet”, he says.
In the future, Mr Patterson sees that flexibility in the new regulatory regime could help Nimon & Sons further expand the return on investment in workshop facilities. Once its inspection site is approved, VTNZ Hastings may be able to make use of the Nimon & Sons facility to perform inspections for VTNZ customers.
The Transport Agency is looking forward to supporting more transport operators as they find commercial efficiencies and opportunities to improve safety through the CoF changes now in effect.