The Ghana National Cargo Transporters Association (GNCTA) has called for greater involvement of private sector operators in the drafting of an axle load policy to regulate the cargo transport industry.
“There will be the need to play a greater role, especially in the education of members on new axle load regulations; negotiate some relief for transporters to famine and war-torn areas, and provide warehousing, transportation infrastructure and collateral management.
“There is also the need for greater involvement of private-sector operators in the drafting of the axle load policy to regulate the cargo transport industry,” the transporters said.
Currently, the GNCTA, which is a member of National Road Transport Facilitating Committee, is pursuing an agenda to harmonise axel load policy among ECOWAS countries.
Axle load is the acceptable weight of goods a vehicle is allowed to carry. An axle load policy is intended to prolong the lifespan of roads, among other things.
The axel load policy has not been harmonized in ECOWAS, according to a study of perspectives of transport sector stakeholders that was initiated by GNCTA with support from the BUSAC Fund.
The study commenced in June 2012 and was aimed at engaging the government to simplify the process for weighing trucks to make it fair, transparent and efficient to support the implementation of the common axle load policy.
Steps taken to harmonize the policy between Ghana and ECOWAS include amending the current axle load limit of 10 tonnes to agree with the ECOWAS protocol limit of 11.5 tonnes.
Additional limits will also be derived for axle types other than the single axle to which the 11.5 tonne limit applies.
The harmonised policy is to reduce the number of vehicles with axle load of more than 13 tonnes by 80 percent and ensure that no truck axle load is more than 16 tonnes.
It observed that cargo transporters face a number of constraints in the transportation of goods within the country and across borders in the West African sub-region.
Significant challenges identified during field interviews include the use of more cargo trucks to convey limited cargo as a result of axle load limitations, lack of good road networks, and harassment by law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Immigration and Custom Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) – which tends to increase transportation costs.
French speaking countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) surround Ghana, making the language barrier and the WAEMU applicable regulations a concern for truck drivers from Ghana.
Currently, Ghana is one of the best performers in road governance across the region, with the lowest bribes and limited delays. However, the number of controls from the Police is still among the highest in the region – one control per 100 km. The number of controls from CEPS is also among the highest.
The report observed that there are many active checkpoints in Ghana: 44 checkpoints along the 880 km distance between the Port of Tema and the Burkina Faso border of Paga.
In June 2009, Ghana began implementing regional axle load restrictions. Currently in Ghana, two tiers of axle load tolerances exist above ECOWAS/UEMOA's original regulation.