Ghana Cedis

A day?s stakeholder dialogue on the challenges, rationale and expected impact of the implementation of the new axle-load regulations in Ghana was opened in Accra on Tuesday.

It was organised by Ghana Shippers? Authority in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance (BA) West Africa and the United States Agency for International Development.

It brought together stakeholders from private and public sectors in Ghana and other countries to dialogue and address critical issues affecting transport and trade in West Africa.

Speaking on the theme: ?Removing Trade Barriers in West Africa,? Nana Sakyi Baffoe, Representative of BA Ghana Chapter, observed that his outfit found it essential to organise the forum for stakeholders to meet and deliberate on the implementation of the merits and demerits of the new regime as well as its economic impact on trade in Ghana and the entire West African Sub region, following the education received from Ghana Highways Authority.

?We have been educated by the Ghana Highways Authority on the need to protect our roads from rapid degradation caused by overloaded vehicles both in Ghana and in the sub region which costs over $1million dollars per kilometre,? he said.

He said bad roads lead to increased wear and tear of all vehicles, and there is therefore the need to continuously ensure safety on the roads for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Mr Sakyi Baffoe, however, noted that Ghana Haulage Operators and Transporters had also expressed the fear of going out of business as a result of the implementation of the new axle load limit, as well as Ghana losing its competitiveness in the transit trade to neighbouring countries.

Mr Amin Amidu Sulemani, Minister of Roads and Highways, commended the organisers for the bold initiative that seeks to address the deteriorating state of roads in the country.

He said the Ministry?s role in the dialogue goes beyond the status of a stakeholder since the damaging effects of excessive loading is its main headache.

Mr Amidu Sulemani said the Ministry of Roads and Highways (MRH) has the mandate of planning, developing and maintaining the country?s road network to support all economic activities.

?This mandate makes MRH the road asset holders and managers to ensure that the huge investment being made by government in the road sector is optimised,? he added.

He observed: ?Every country or a group of countries within a corridor example ECOWAS has a threshold axle load limit.?

This, he said offsets the extra cost in road maintenance and the revenue increase as a result of high allowable axle loads,

This threshold axle load limit is not chosen arbitrarily but arrived at through empirical studies and years of experience,? he said.

He stated that the permissible axle load limit for Ghana is 11.5 tons for single load carrying axles for both local and foreign vehicles.

?This in accordance with Article 4 of Convention A/P2/5/82 of the Authority of Heads of State and government in ECOWAS and Article 1 of the Council of Ministers Decision C/DEC/7/7/91, which states that, transport vehicles traffic on road networks of ECOWAS members States shall be permissible subject to a maximum axel load of 11.5 tons for single load carrying axles.

?However, in line with the road map adopted for the implementation of regulation 14 of the West African Economic and Monetary Union protocols in July 2010, tolerance was allowed for the maximum gross weight of vehicles,? he said.

He therefore called for effective implementation of the axle load control policy and action plan, which requires the provision of infrastructure and equipment, management of weighbridge stations, enforcement of supporting legislation, education and sensitisation. GNA

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