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Sat 15 Dec 2007 12:00 AM

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Firms unite to pan heavy load road law

Ready-mix concrete producers in Dubai have united to call for the scrapping of a law banning their trucks from roads during peak hours.

Ready-mix concrete producers in Dubai have united to call for the scrapping of a law banning their trucks from roads during peak hours.

Ten of the major companies recently held a crisis meeting, where it was decided to send a joint letter to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The producers say the regulations are pushing up concrete prices and delaying projects.

The law states that heavy trucks cannot use most major roads from 6am to 8.30am, 1pm to 3pm and then 5.30pm to 8.30pm.The vehicles are also prohibited from using Sheikh Zayed Road from 6am to 10pm.

However, because concrete has a very limited shelf life - about two to three hours - the companies claim these rules are unfair.

The letter said: "The nature of contractors' operations is that they are unable to start and stop their concreting works and must complete the pouring of any particular element without an interruption of supply.

"This means that for sites which necessitate the use of major road systems subject to the movement ban, concreting work will not be possible for 14 hours of the day - a reduction of 58% of the normal working day."

Chris Lobel, general manager, Conmix, one of those who signed the letter to the RTA, said: "If we can only deliver concrete at night, it means that whereas before we could deliver 1,000m3 in the month, we can now only deliver 500m3.

"That 500m3 will not pay for the salaries of all the people and the investment, which means that the 500m3 will get more expensive."

Lobel added that with other building products, such as building blocks, the times of delivery was not as essential. "I think what the RTA is doing is correct, they have to do something about the traffic, but we should be allowed special dispensation," he said.

"What is also happening is that the good contractors follow the rules, but less reputable ones will take a risk and break the rules, which is unfair competition."

Basil Sunari, general manager, Arabian Mix, who also signed the letter, said: "Unless people expect us to be non-profit organisations, which I don't think anybody does, a solution needs to be found.

"I am sure that these regulations are partly responsible for the slowing down of projects in Dubai."

Despite efforts to get a response from the RTA, nobody was available for comment.

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