The Ghana Haulage Transport Owners Association (GHATOA), a coalition of road haulage operators in the country, has kicked against the introduction of the new axle load regulation which came into force on 1st January, 2014.
GHATOA warned that it might withdraw its services from the roads, ports and farms if their concerns are not readily taken into consideration.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways, acting through the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), began implementing the Axle Road Regulations in the Road Traffic Regulation 2012 this year.
A statement issued by the GHA and signed by its Acting Chief Executive, M.A Abbey on 6th January, 2014, said “as part of its implementation programme, the GHA assisted by the Ghana Police Service, embarked on a nationwide sensitization and education programme to sensitize stakeholders in the transport business on the axle load regulations in the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (L.I. 2180)".
The statement said "during the encounter with stakeholders, some concerns were raised on the implementation of the Axle Load limits in the L.I. 2180.
“Based on these concerns, the GHA wishes to inform you that, the Allowed Axle Load for 6-Axle truck to be enforced with effect 1st January, 2014 is 60 tonnes... However, we have granted a grace period from 1st January, 2014 to 31st January, 2014 to duly inform all stakeholders".
But at a press conference held in Kumasi on Thursday, addressed by Salia Adams, GHATOA Secretary, the group claimed the regulation seems to be targeted at collapsing the haulage industry.
He described the call on importers to reduce the tare weights of the over 15,000 articulated vehicles in the country, which comes with a huge cost to them, to meet the axle load specifications of 16 tonnes for a six axle truck as “an impossible demand”.
Adams said, “we are the immediate and direct victims of all these demands. With this unfortunate trend, Ghanaian trucks are now prostituting in all other countries for greener pastures due to the poorly implemented axle load policy.”
He observed that relevant stakeholders should be consulted when such policies are being formulated. Likewise, he said, GHATOA believes Ghana ought to collaborate with countries in the sub-region during their implementation.
This, he said, would among other things eliminate the disparity in the required axle load in each country.
Salia Adams further called on the ministry to reconsider some provisions in the regulations, cautioning that Ghana cannot afford to lose out on the Sahelian-bound cargos, for which the country has spent huge sums of the tax payer’s money in convincing importers and exporters to route through the Tema and Takoradi ports.
He also stated that it is “not in the interest of GHATOA to destroy the country’s roads for personal gain and neither are we asking for arbitrary loading practices without regulatory processes” but the “continuous implementation of the LI2180 could possibly push [members] to withdraw their services from the roads, the ports, the farms markets.”