NAIROBI - Regional transport and infrastructure experts from the five East African member countries are in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the harmonizing of laws and regulations governing vehicle weight limits across the region.
The two days consultative meeting on harmonisation of Vehicle Overload Control Laws and Regulations in EAC is organised by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Jean de Dieu Ndachayisenga, a specialist in charge of transport, science and technology at the ministry of East African Community, said that transporters in the region are overwhelmed by many challenges that have impeded their effectiveness.
“(The) overloading issue has been like a crime in passing. Regional countries possess different regulations and this affects transporters.
For example, if a Rwandan truck goes to Kenya having maximum weight of over 48 tonnes it is charged,” he said.
“If trucks from other countries come to Rwanda, they are also charged but once the regulations are harmonised, it will be easy for the transporters to work freely and no one will be affected.”
Meanwhile, authorities in Rwanda and Burundi allow trucks to handle a maximum of 53 tonnes.
Kenya permits 48 tonnes while Uganda and Tanzania let 56 tonnes.This means that if a truck coming to Rwanda loads goods over 53 tonnes, owners have to bear the cost of the extra weight.
Ndachayisenga further suggested that even the weighbridges at border posts should be similar.
“We need to harmonise the management system of weighbridges (weighing machines) and train the personnel operating them.”
Cross-border transport is three to five times more expensive in Africa than in Asia and Latin America. A truck ferrying goods from Mombasa to Kampala over a distance of 1,100 km takes five days.
Out of this, 19 hours are spent crossing borders and weighbridges.Experts estimate that each one-hour reduction in such crossing times would save USD 7 million per year in benefits to the region.
The issue of the application of different procedures and basis on axle load control (vehicle weight limits) is one of the major factors impeding efficient transport within the region.
More than 50 technocrats from EAC Partner States’ ministries of roads and transport, transport agencies as well as representatives of the private sector, other regional blocs and development partners are expected to attend the meeting.