Panic as Kenya bans overloaded trucks

NAIROBI - Transport officials from the five-member East African Community will this weekend rush to Nairobi to ask Kenya to suspend its ban against trucks with quadruple axles and more.

NAIROBI - Transport officials from the five-member East African Community will this weekend rush to Nairobi to ask Kenya to suspend its ban against trucks with quadruple axles and more.

Kenya has complained that trucks with quadruple axles and more carry excess cargo eroding their roads.

Subsequently, Nairobi has placed a ban on such heavy vehicles beginning December this year.

But the Permanent Secretary in Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport, Charles Muganzi, has said that officials responsible for road safety from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi will travel to Nairobi this weekend and meet on Monday to harmonise their positions.

Should Kenya’s decision be effected, the volume of imports and exports through the country’s port would therefore be negatively affected.

Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the DR Congo import and export through Kenya.
Muganzi has said the region was under pressure from donors to regulate transportation of cargo.

The development partners, according to the Ugandan official, argue that costs of road maintenance can only be cut if non compliant trucks are stopped.

The East African countries usually depend on aid to maintain and repair their roads.

“We have just been ambushed. Kenya did not give us enough time to sensitise our transporters.

That is why we want to ask them to suspend the ban possibly from December to March next year,” Muganzi said in Kampala soon after appearing before Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Thursday 23.

Muganzi said once Kenya proceeds and bans excess cargo trucks, and an offence is committed, the driver and the transporter would be required to meet heavy penalties.

In addition, the truck would be confiscated and goods forfeited, he said.
Under the traffic law, it is an offence carriers moving with extra load especially fuel and sealed tanks.

Presently, Tanzania has improved through self regulation by sensitising transporters there.

Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi all do not have axle loading control facilities that regulate cargo loading.

However, the alternative, Muganzi said, is to construct weighing-bridges through out the region.

But, he hastily added, they were expensive to erect.

He said a weighing-bridge costs about shs2bn.

“And a weighing-bridge must have a court nearby with a Magistrate and a court Clerk to easily dispose off cases arising from defaults,” the Ugandan official said.
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