East Africa: EAC to Save U.S.$1 Billion Annually Through Harmonised Axle Law

15 February 2012

allAfrica.com (Xinhua) | February 15, 2012

The overall savings in the five-member East African Community (EAC) bloc as a result of a harmonised axle load control could exceed 1 billion U.S. dollars annually, officials said.

EAC Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Enos Bukuku, told journalists in Nairobi that a harmonised law will significantly reduce transport costs, especially for Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which are landlocked.

"By harmonising the approach to axle load control to allow for maximum of 56 tonnes per truck across the region, we shall remove costly logistics burden from the back of operators and investors in the region and save the region over one billion dollars annually," Bukuku said during a regional conference on the development of the EAC vehicle load Control Bill.

The Bill, titled the EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill, 2012, is the culmination of a year-long process during which Partner States discussed technical details on vehicle loading. A study funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recommended that the region adopts harmonised load limits, decriminalises overloading and develops state of the art weighbridge stations. The study was discussed at several experts and stakeholders' workshops and eventually was adopted by a committee of Permanent Secretaries in August 2011.

The highlight among the items discussed and agreed was the adoption of a 56-tonne gross vehicle weight limit within the region. This also conforms to the COMESA and SADC limits, thus bringing the whole Eastern and Southern Africa region into a harmonised vehicle load regime. The taskforce was established to harmonise the different axle load regimes in the trading bloc as Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi currently allow for a maximum of 56 tonnes per truck while Uganda permits up to 53 tonnes and Kenya only allows 48 tonnes.

The Director of Infrastructure at the EAC Philip Wambugu said that proposed law will cap the maximum length of any vehicle used for transport in the region at 22 meters and allow only a maximum of seven axles per vehicle.

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