Government: No going back on road overloading rule

Friday January 11 2019


By Hellen Nachilongo @musanachi60 hnachilongo@tz.nation

Dar es Salaam. The government has said that it will stick to provisions of the newly-adopted East African Community Vehicle Load Control Act, 2016 despite complaints from transporters.

The minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Isack Kamwelwe, said the government incurred costs to ensure the new law got adopted, there was no way it could renege on it at this stage.

He made the remarks on Wednesday during the launch of a Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) for the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra).

Transporters say the law will not only kick them out of the business but also make the Dar es Salaam Port less attractive especially to goods destined for Southern African Development Community (Sadc) member states.

Passed in 2017, the law aims at protecting roads by curbing overloading. Vehicles with a gross weight of 3,500kg and over have to go through every weighbridge along respective routes. The weight in axle of super single tyres has been lowered to 8.5 tonnes, from 10 tonnes. The law slaps a $15,000 (about Sh35 million) fine or three-year jail term or both for contravening the weight rules.

But transporters say the gross weight stipulated in the law puts Tanzania’s ports at a disadvantage within Sadc.

“This is as good as telling countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Malawi not to use our port,” Tanzania Association of Transporters Vice-President, Omar Kiponza told The Citizen yesterday.

The Vice chairman for Tanzania Truck Owners Association (Tatoa), Mr Elias Lukumay said Tanzania has every reason to prioritise Sadc because up to 70 per cent of goods passing through the Port of Dar es Salaam are destined for the DRC, Zambia, Malawi and partly, Zimbabwe. But according to Mr Kamwelwe, transporters who are not happy with the law are those who started business without conducting a thorough research.

The Tanzania Association of Transporters Vice-President, Omar Kiponza told The Citizen yesterday that implementing the law will have dire consequences on the economy and begged for time to prepare.

“The law must be put aside for two years as transporters phase out the super single tyre trailers in their fleets. These vehicles account for 95 per cent of all trucks in the country,” he said.

Mr Kamwelwe said various stakeholders, including transporters, were involved during the preparation of the law.

“Those that are complaining about the law never attended meetings or they sent representatives,” he said.

However, to Mr Kiponza says they did attend the meetings and registered their opposition but they ignored their views.