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Overloaded Vehicles in China

A collection of snaps, mostly taken on the highways of China and published by China Foto Press, reveal drivers who load up their vehicles far beyond their limits as they go about their daily business. These pictures show ridiculously heavy trucks, bikes and tractors with goods piled up to 20 feet above their heads, leaning at unusual angles under the load.

"Highway and bridge tolls in China are too high for transportation companies," said Cui Zhongfu, secretary-general of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. "Sometimes, they can account for as much as 20 percent of the total expense." Therefore, many companies carry too much freight to try to make trips more profitable and compete with rivals.

Overloading is a serious problem in China and a hazard for other vehicles and pedestrians. According to authorities, 80 percent of trucks are overloaded. These vehicles have been damaging the country's crumbling highways and collapsed many bridges in the past.

For months, a bridge over the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, that was designed for vehicles weighing only 30 tons and trailers weighing 55 tons, was abused by truckers carrying loads in excess of 100 tons. The bridge finally gave away in July 2011, when a 129-ton truck tried to cross it. In the same month, a bridge in Yancheng, Jiangsu province and another 301-meter steel-arch bridge in Wuyishan, Fujian province, collapsed. Both bridges had been built about 10 years ago.

China has about 660,000 bridges, the most of any country in the world. But each year, more than a dozen of them collapse. Overloading is one of the many reasons of bridge failure.

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