PUBLISHED ON October 28th, 2014

Hauliers sign charter on EA cargo limits

Transporters along the Northern Corridor have embarked on self-regulation to curb overloading of trucks. Despite the presence of tough enforcement, trucks, especially those leaving the Mombasa port, have been accused of overloading as transporters seek to squeeze more profits from each trip made along the Corridor.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau last week presided over a function in which all transporters committed themselves to observing the stipulated weight requirements in a move that promises to rid Kenyan roads of overweight trucks.

The development of the Axle Load Control Charter was spearheaded by the Northern Corridor Transit Transport Co-ordination Authority (NCTTCA) and Kenya Transporters Association, whose members control more than 70 per cent of the total heavy commercial vehicle fleet.

Government agencies that are part of the effort include Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Police Service, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Pipeline Company Ltd (KPC).

Private agencies include Shippers Council of East Africa, Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association, Container Freight Station Association and Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers Union.

Under the Charter, the Authority is expected to provide regular reports to member states with names of transporters who flout weight limits.

According to the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Co-ordination Authority, compliance with axle load limit within the region is below 75 per cent, raising the question on how practical the Charter will be. The Charter requires KPA to share information in advance with the other cargo inspectors on the weight of the containers received based on ship manifests.

Cargo that exceeds the allowed limit of 56 tonnes will only be released through the railway, which is currently loading less than 10 per cent of the cargo generated through Mombasa port.

It also requires KMA to develop regulations that will compel shippers of containers to verify their gross weight prior to release at various loading points.

Load Control Bill

The EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill 2012 harmonised the gross vehicle weight limits to 56 tonnes along the Northern Corridor. Kenya is expected to enforce the limit next year, up from the current 49 tonnes limit. Rwanda and Burundi, with an axle load limit of 53 tonnes, are also expected to raise theirs to 56 tonnes by 2015.

“Protection of our roads is a shared responsibility from regulators to operators and users,” said NCTTCA executive secretary Donat Bagula.

In Kenya, penalties for overloading are Sh5,000 ($ 55) for every tonne overloaded per axle and Sh200,000 ($2,203) for over 10 tonnes overloaded or more with the fines doubling for second offenses.

Source:: The East African

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