27 July 2007

Kenya: Revised Axle Load Limits for Trucks Released

Nairobi — The Government has published new traffic amendment rules on maximum truck axle limits to curb overloaded heavy commercial vehicle from operating on Kenyan roads.

Transport Minister, Chirau Mwakwere, said trucks fitted with four axles will not be allowed to ply Kenyan roads from December 1 this year when the Traffic (Amendment) Rules come into force.

He said in Legal Notice No.145 rules for rear axle reduction from four to three will be strictly enforced to stop trucks damaging roads and 24,000 kilograms (kg) is highest axle load limit for vehicles in Kenya .

"The maximum number of axles which may be fitted on vehicle or trailer combination will be seven provided that the vehicle axle configurations does not exceed three group axles," he said.

An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. It is estimated that Kenya loses between Sh30 million to Sh50 million per kilometre of road damaged by heavy commercial vehicles.

Mwakwere said a vehicle found to use hydraulic, mechanical or pneumatic mechanism for lifting one or more axles on the road will be impounded and licenses withdrawn for two years from December.

He said single steering axle limit is 8,000 kg, single rear axle with four or more wheels (10,000 kg), double steering axles (12,000kg) and two axle groups in tandem with one axle having two wheels and other four wheels (14,000 kg).

He said the limit for two axle (tandem) group with each axle having four wheels is 16,000 kg, triple axle group having four wheels on each axle and two wheels on one axle (22,000 kg) and three axle groups (triple) with each having four wheels (24,000 kg).

Past efforts to reduce axle loads of trucks met by protests from owners, who claimed they could only make money by carrying more cargo. Corruption at weighbridges also hampered checking weight.

Transport Permanent Secretary, Gerishon Ikiara, said adoption of three axles would put Kenya at par with other Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ( COMESA) states and reduce wear of roads.

"Other countries do not allow trucks with more than three axles. Manufacturers in Kenya add extra axles on imported trucks and others use additions on vehicle bodies to conceal weight," he said.

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