Business News of 2013-10-21

Heavy-duty truckers avoid axle weighbridges

Many heavy-duty truck drivers have resorted to the use of alternate routes to avoid axle weighbridges for fear of being arrested and fined for flouting the legal axle limit of 11.5 tonnes.
Recently, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, called for the enforcement of the axle load limit to save the nation’s investments in roads.
Axle load limits are designed to indicate a maximum weight-per-axle. Once they are exceeded, extensive damage can be caused to the affected roads.
But most heavy-duty truck drivers from the Tema Harbour often avoid the Tema Motorway axle load station as well as the mobile weighing platform van located after the toll booth from Tema, and make detours through unapproved routes for fear of being fined for overloading.
Whereas some pass through the Nungua Beach road, others go through the Tema Community Nine roundabout and link the Tema General Hospital road through the Ashaiman overhead and others equally use the Spintex road.
However, luck at times run out for some of these escapee drivers along the route because of the presence of Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) mobile weighbridge van that operates along the Tema – Paga route.
The Ashanti Regional GHA mobile van recently impounded 15 heavy-duty vehicles at Boankra, which were found to have defied the axle load regulations and exceeded the permissible axle load limit.
According to officials of the GHA, the apprehended vehicles were among the many overloaded trucks that frequently dodged the permanent weighbridges such as those at Sogakope, Tema Motorway and Nsawam.
The swift intervention of the Mobile weighbridge van, headed by Rev. Kwaku Osei Kusi,the Ashanti Regional GHA Coordinator of Axle Load, led to the apprehension of these offending truckers.
Checks have also revealed that in view of the fact that the drivers used these unapproved routes, the mobile weighing vans operating on the Tema Motorway and Nsawam are unable to apprehend them.
Information indicates that since the weighbridges were privatised in the country a couple of years ago, there had been dramatic move in increasing in fines on overloaded trucks.
For instance, between July 2010 and June 2011, about GH¢3.1 million was raked in through fines imposed on overloaded trucks even though the fines were not deterrent enough because the fines could not remedy the damage caused on the road.
Ghana spends about GH¢40 million annually to repair damage caused to roads as a result of overloading alone.
The effect of overloading on the country’s road network is therefore devastating and the practice drains the national economy because of the extra maintenance cost.