The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority
(GPHA) says it is determined to woo back
landlocked countries who as a result of the
Axle load policy decided to stop transiting
their goods through Ghana.
The authority is preparing to meet the
countries concerned and attract back transit
cargoes which have declined by more than
This came to light during an educational
programme held last week for Journalists in
Tema on the role of the various stakeholders
operating in the port.
Speaking about the decline in Ghana’s transit cargo during her presentation on the operations of the
GPHA, General Manager for the Business Development Division, Mrs Alice Torkornoo disclosed that the
levels of transit trade were good before the implementation of the Axle load limitation policy.
“When Ghana chose in 2009 to implement the axle load limitation policy, the transit business from
Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger reduced considerably and went elsewhere because the other countries were
not implementing the policy,” she said.
According to the GPHA, transit cargo in 2008 stood at 1,073,360 tonnes but in 2009 dropped to 523,609
tonnes and declined further to 448,229 tonnes in 2010.
The axle load regulatory framework became necessary because many of development partners and donor
agencies were demanding regulations for the protection of road infrastructure, as conditionality before
advancing funds for road projects in developing countries.
The policy was therefore meant to regulate the weight of loads on long trucks that ply inter-country trunk
roads so as to protect the roads against destruction caused by overloading.
The policy stipulates that the maximum axle-load of vehicles authorised to carry out interstate
transportation, should not exceed 11.5 tonnes per axle.
Ghana’s former Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu in January this year disclosed that the
overloading of vehicles and the damage they caused to the roads had cost the country more than $1
billion in a period of five years
Mrs Torkornoo maintained that even though the implementation of the policy was to have been done by
countries making up the West African and Monetary Union States (UEMO), Ghana was the first to
implement the policy.
It had however become apparent that the intensity of axle load limit enforcement in Ghana had resulted
in the transit trucks from landlocked countries relocating to neighbouring coastal countries where strict
enforcement is non-existent, resulting in the loss of volumes of cargo.
Available statistics show that on the Burkina Faso road from the Ghanaian border to Ouagadougou, 84
per cent of trucks were overloaded by an average exceeding 52 tonnes, with some trucks weighing up to
142 tonnes – almost three times the legal limit.
When made to endure such abuse, the life of a road is reduced to 1 - 4 years, compared to a normal
lifespan of 15 years or more.
Some of the axle load stations are the Accra-Tema Motorway, Tema-Akosombo-Afienya- Akatsi station on
the Tema-Aflao road, Boankra Station on the Accra-Kumasi corridor, Akom Station on the Kumasi-
Techiman Road and the Asuoyeboa Station on the Kumasi--Sunyani Road.
The rest are the Asokwa Station at Anwiankwanta-Yamoransa junction, Elmina Station on the Accra-
Takoradi Road and the Agona-Nkwanta Station on the Takoradi -Elubo stretch.
Transit Trade Declines With Axle Load Operation