KeNHA, Thika Truck Transporters Meet To Enhance Axle Load Compliance And To Stabilise The Sector.

KeNHA Axle Load Control Manager Eng. Muita Ngatia (centre) addressing the press after launching KIAMA Sacco in Thika. He is flanked by Eng. Isaiah Onsongo (left) and KIAMA chairperson Mwalimu John Mbugua.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is now encouraging heavy commercial truck owners to form SACCOs that will help the transporters to self-regulate in a bid to reduce cases of trucks flouting the axle load rules through overloading.

Addressing sand transporters during the launch of KIAMA Transporters Sacco Society Limited, a self-regulating Sacco in Thika Sub-County, KeNHA Axle Load Control Manager Eng. Muita Ngatia said that the move was aimed at enhancing axle load limits compliance so as to clamp down on overloading that has wrecked the country’s road arteries, endangered the public and added unnecessary and preventable burdens on the nation’s taxpayers.

“Initially, we have been having a problem with them (transporters) because of gross overloading, hence we have decided to partner with these Saccos and enlighten them on the advantages of self-regulation as we highlight the dangers of overloading. Primarily, most roads are supposed to last for about 15 years but due to gross overloading, they only last 5 years,” said Ngatia.

Eng. Ngatia said that the roads authority was set to launch more Saccos in order to increase the level of compliance in the region. He added that plans were also at an advanced stage to formulate ways of having an umbrella body that will cater for all the sand and construction transport Saccos, to aid in self-regulation as well as regulating prices of commodities and self-appraisal. He acknowledged that there has been drastic progress with the level of compliance at a high since his authority started partnering with the transporters.

However, he warned that as an authority, they would not relent on imposing very heavy penalties on any transporter who flouted the rules as they were mandated by law to protect the roads.

Eng. Isaiah Onsongo who is the Senior Engineer-axle load control (KeNHA) insisted that this move was for the good of the truck owners since overloading has had negative effect on our businesses.

“Overloading causes tear and wear which takes away all the profit we think they are making. It also causes damage to our roads which in turn causes wear and tear to our trucks.

He added that they started this initiative with the aim of ensuring that the investors in the transport business got value for money and also stabilise the market. He reckoned that they had achieved so much since that inception of this initiative which included the drop in the prices of trucks.

“As it is right now, most of our clients are getting value for their business. The price of trucks have also gone down. These prices were high due to false demands as the notion that by overloading, the trucks were assumed to be offering fast returns caused the vehicle dealers to overprize the trucks that were in high demand due to their load capacity,” explained Eng. Onsongo.

Currently there are 48 transporters Saccos working with KeNHA to ensure compliance of axle load regulations and safety issues.

“In 2014 we had about 5 Saccos which has now risen to 48 currently and we expect this number to increase with time,” he said.

KIAMA Transporters Sacco chairperson Mr. John Mbugua (Mwalimu) said that their association sought to instill safety, discipline and professionalism in sand transporters and to provide a single, authoritative voice on issues of importance regarding road transportation.
Some of the trucks plying their trade along Thika-Garissa Road going through a mobile weighbridge near Engen Petrol Station in Makongeni Thika. KeNHA officials are in the area sensitizing on the need to comply with the set axle load limits.

“This Sacco will enable operators to pool resources and to implement market-oriented strategies to serve customers well and increase earnings. I appeal to all those who have not joined us to do so as this will provide us with a united voice to engage all the stakeholders in this business,” he added.

He promised to ensure that their members adhered to the axle load limits both to protect the roads from destruction and maintain their vehicle.

The KeNHA team will be in the area for the next 10 days sensitising commercial truck traders on the need to be compliant and to self-regulate.

Axle load control is regulated through the Traffic Act cap 403, which also stipulates penalties. The penalties, enhanced under legal notice no. 83 of 2013, range from Ksh.10,000 to Ksh. 400,000 for gross overload of 10 tonnes and above.

KIAMA Sacco brings together sand and building material transporters operating between Machakos, Kitui, Garissa, Thika and Githurai in Nairobi and aims to assist members meet their needs. It has about 70 members who currently operated over 200 trucks.

Those present during the launch were James Mbugua (Secretary), Benjamin Ngugi (Treasurer) and Peter Muli Kalungu (Vice Chairperson) among other group members.
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