Heavy Vehicle Access


Applying for Heavy Vehicle Access on PBPL roads

Operators seeking access for restricted access vehicles on Port of Brisbane roads should apply for a permit through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). For more information on the role of NHVR or to apply for a heavy vehicle access permit please go to https://www.nhvr.gov.au/.

Role of PBPL

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), PBPL, as a ‘road manager’, cannot grant a mass or dimension authority, issue a permit or make a notice. The actual notice or permit that allows a restricted access vehicle to use PBPL roads must be issued by the NHVR (https://www.nhvr.gov.au/).

PBPL’s role is to determine:
  • if the use of restricted access vehicles will cause damage to road infrastructure or have adverse impacts on the community; and
  • whether the restricted access vehicle can be used safely on PBPL roads.PBPL does not determine whether the restricted access vehicle is operating safely, however PBPL can request that the NHVR include vehicle conditions in a mass or dimension authority.
Route Assessments

The HVNL recognises that route assessments may be required in some cases so that PBPL can determine whether heavy vehicles will cause damage to road infrastructure and can be used safely on PBPL roads.
Route assessments consider the impacts, or likely impacts, of relevant restricted access vehicles on requested travel routes. They can include structural assessments on bridges, pavements, and culverts, as well as geometrical assessments such as swept paths at intersections, stacking distances, and overtaking provision.
PBPL is entitled to charge reasonable costs for undertaking route assessments. These costs will be charged to the applicant, where applicable.


The HVNL allows PBPL to set up pre-approved routes for one-off permits. This concept is similar to a bulk consent, and outlines:
  • the category (or categories) of vehicles to which the arrangement applies
  • the declaration of travel routes that the specified vehicles are able to operate.
PBPL has provided NHVR with pre-approvals for a range of over size, over mass (OSOM) vehicles, including:
  • Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), such as cranes and all terrain cranes
  • Load carrying vehicles, including prime movers with single axle, dual axle, tri axle, and quad axle low loader trailers, and including vehicles with dollies (I and 2 axles)
  • Prime movers and low loader dollies and platform trailers, 5 axles and above.
Pre-approvals are processed by the NHVR as part of the validation checks on all permit applications. If the vehicle and travel routes requested in a permit application match an existing pre-approval arrangement, the NHVR will use this arrangement instead of sending a new individual request to PBPL for consent.

PBPL will be notified when a permit has been issued by NHVR.
In addition, vehicles that are covered by, or conform to, Queensland Government Guidelines under HVNL have pre-approved access on PBPL roads. These guidelines include:
  • Excess Mass Vehicles: special purpose vehicles up to 40 tonnes and vehicles carrying an indivisible item to 59.5 tonnes (Form number 11, Version 5, September 2011)
  • Excess Dimension Vehicles: Vehicles carrying indivisible articles, special purpose vehicles, vehicles that require a pilot or escort in Queensland (Form Number 4, Version 8, February 2013).

Click here to download the letter of approval regarding these guideline vehicles.

Vehicles complying with the two guidelines above are NOT required to apply to NHVR for permits to access Port of Brisbane roads.

Loads on Port of Brisbane wharves

Whilst access to PBPL roads comes under the jurisdiction of the NHVR, access to PBPL wharves and adjacent terminals does not. 
PBPL must receive prior notice of any cargo that exceeds 90 tonnes so that PBPL can undertake an assessment of its impact on wharf infrastructure. This is in addition to any applications to the NHVR for access to PBPL roads.