The East African Community (EAC) partner states have agreed to adopt a standard Gross Vehicle Mass axial load limit of 56 tonnes on seven standard axles and the use of interlinked vehicles in the gazetted transit corridors without permits.
The two issues remained outstanding during community’s third stakeholders meeting on harmonization of vehicle overload control, after the partners agreed in 24 of the overall 26 areas covering aspects of legal instruments, calibration of weigh bridges,computerised scales and standardisation of technology.
Speaking during the end of the three day meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community,David Nalo said that the harmonisation of the two issues has the potential of reducing logistics costs by 50 per cent in the region.
“All the partners have agreed to adopt the two outstanding issues, This harmonisation when effected and complemented by one stop Border operations and the single window platform will reduce logistic costs by up to 50 per cent for the region,” said Nalo.
Terming the agreements as a major milestone since the inception of the harmonisation process, Nalo also said the approval for the use of interlinked vehicles without special permits will give transporters flexibility in loading and as a result provide opportunity to optimize on operations costs. While at the same time cited that overload control measures will lead to the realization of the East African Common Market.
“This is a major milestone as it brings to an end a process of harmonizing axle load control in the region that started way back in 2001.The East African Tripartite Road Transport Agreement, taken on board by the Common Market Protocol envisages harmonisation of the axle load limits, this is therefore an enabler in the implementation of the Common Market Protocol,” he said.
Citing reduction of transport cost in the region as a major issue affecting the regions competitiveness among investors, traders and the integration process especially in the landlocked countries, he said the forgoing convergence will improve transport efficiency in the region.
“Research shows a reduction of an hour spent crossing will benefit consumers at the border posts and the region would save up to 651 million shillings per annum,this amount can offset one year contribution of a partner to the community or aide in the supply of water to the needy,” said Nalo. adding that there is a need for reducing the cost of doing business.
At the same time the East African Community’s Director of infrastructure, Philip Wambugu cited corruption as one of the vices documented as a hindrance towards the implementation process adding that that the partners take strict measures to those found in the act.
“Documented as one of the vices, we will take strict measures to those found in corruption,” said Wambugu. He also called upon each member country to seek compliance to enhance the implementation of the regulations.
Among the 24 agreed issues includes mass limit of super single tyres to the 8.5 tonnes for 385/65R22.5 tyres provided the weigh bridge software can be programmed to detect different types of tyres, axle load limits of 10 tonnes for single tyres, 18 for tandem and 24 for tridem among others.
The implementation process which will include the approval and enactment of the proposed regional vehicle overload control bill, is expected to be completed by April 2012.