Before getting into the nitty gritty of Over Dimensional Cargo shipment or “ODC”, it is important to understand that cargos are classified as such for the specific purpose of road safety of commuters. Government by qualifying a cargo as ODC brings it within the ambit of certain rules and regulations that eliminates the possibility of any unsafe practices and accidents.
In simplest terms, ODC or Over Dimensional Cargo is a cargo protruding from the trailer of the truck. For example, if a truck trailer with a loading platform of length is 20 feet is carrying iron girders of 22 feet length, then the cargo falls under the category of Over-Dimension Cargo. On the other hand, if the same girders were placed on a trailer of length 22 feet, it would have qualified as a normal cargo.
A cargo is classified as ODC transportation in order to prevent transporters from claiming economic benefits given by the Government even when they are carrying normal cargo. ODC cargo poses significant risks to the safety of other vehicles and people using the road. As such, the general practice is to prevent such practices by encouraging transporters and businesses to use larger vehicles to transport these heavy consignments.
As mentioned above, a cargo is classified as ODC based upon the cargo’s length as well as the length of the loading platform. This then brings us to the question of about the height? We would agree that a cargo being higher than the body is the norm and does not make the vehicle more dangerous. Hence for height we need to define the limits for defining ODC. In CMVR (Section 93, Sub Section 2, Page No 68), the Indian government defines the height limit for all mechanical trucks and trailers at 3.8 meters (12.46 feet) from the surface. What it means is that the height of the cargo along with platform should not exceed 12.46 feet. For example, a cargo of 9 feet on a vehicle having a platform height of 5 feet would qualify as ODC.
In case of length and width too, the Indian government has provided upper limits. This stands 12 meters length for Rigid Trucks, 16 meters length for articulated vehicles (also called Trailers) and 2.6 meters width for all vehicles.