Monday, July 13, 2009

Axle load regulation and road safety forum

The Ministry of Transport, Ghana Shippers Council (GSC) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on Friday organised a day's forum on "axle load regulation and road safety" for stakeholders in the haulage industry in Takoradi. The forum, which was the third in a series, attracted a wide range of people including shippers and haulage drivers who were exposed to efficient transportation of cargo and the rules and regulations governing their activities.Mr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of GSC, said road cargo transportation was the main mode of transport for imports and exports through the country's ports hence the need to give the transport sector the high level of attention.He said the forum was meant to impress on stakeholders the need to place premium on life and property. Mr. Mbiah said it was also meant to build the capacity of the participants with the requisite infrastructure, legal and administrative framework to facilitate their work.He said the GSC was in the process of strengthening its mandate in respect to the protection of the interest of shippers and to this end, the council envisaged a legal regime that would ensure that within a specified time frame, the haulage of cargo would be undertaken only in containers.Mr. Mbiah said on the average some 1,800 people die through road Accidents, with the corresponding cargo loss of about 165 million dollars annually. He noted that large volumes of cargo on the roads are not insured and this situation he said must be reversed.Mrs Dinah Obiri-Yeboah, a Director of the National Road Safety Commission, observed that accidents involving heavy duty vehicles are on the increase and as such haulage of goods from the Ports must be regulated. She said drivers of articulated trucks must wear reflective jackets and fix reflective tapes on their vehicles when driving at night. They should also use reflective triangles when their trucks break down at night, to prevent motor accidents.Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the commission was in the process of translating road signs into Ghanaian languages for the benefit of drivers who cannot read English. Mr Nicholas Brown, Axle Load Manager of the Ghana Highways Authority said a new legislative instrument on axle load was before Parliament to effectively control overloading, which reduces the life span of roads. He said under the new law, drivers who overload their vehicles would be fined according to the level of damage they caused to roads. Mr Cheyuo Musah, Director of Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority, said it was mandatory for transport owners to offer periodic training to drivers and employ people who had the aptitude for training and to understand road regulations.

No comments: