Regional Ministers of Infrastructure, Transport and Energy on Friday, 1st
April 2011 endorsed the provisions of a draft Supplementary Act stipulating
the Axle load standards for heavy duty goods transport vehicles plying public
roads in ECOWAS Member States in order to protect West Africa’s road
infrastructure from degradation by overloaded vehicles.
The proposed Supplementary Act relating to the harmonization of standards and
procedures for the control of dimensions, weight and axle load of goods
vehicles, a complement to existing regional instruments to monitor vehicle
tonnage and improve safety on the roads, will be considered by the next
meeting of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers who will then recommend it for
adoption by regional leaders.
The Act provides a harmonized mechanism for the standardization and control of
the dimensions, weight and axle load of heavy duty goods transport vehicles
and ensuring the control of overload. Member States are required under the
proposed Act to impose prohibitive sanctions for non-compliance.
It stipulates the authorized total laden weight or authorized total transport
vehicle for each type of vehicle and requires Member States to formulate and
incorporate in their official transport documents a note, not only attesting
that a vehicle’s weight and dimensions have been checked, but also clearly
stating its laden weight and axle load system.
Member States are also required under the Act to subject every vehicle, prior
to registration and entry into service, to technical inspection after which
the dimension, weight and axle type should be clearly inscribed on two plates
affixed to the vehicle.
It further obliges the States to install equipment and devices to monitor
compliance such as weigh bridges, weighing scales and dimension gauges along
road corridors including in facilities that generate annual road freight for
heavy duty vehicles of over 200,000 tonnes.
Operators of platforms such as ports, logistics depots, rail road,
warehousing, industrial and storage facilities that generate heavy duty
traffic of over 200,000 tonnes are also required to equip such platforms with
the facilities for the inspection of the dimensions, weight and axle load of
heavy duty vehicles loading in their domains.
The operator will also be required to obtain a certificate of compliance from
the national administration responsible for implementing the Act.
Sanctions for non-compliance include overload shedding and correction of
dimensions, immobilization of vehicles and fines denominated in United States
dollars but paid in local currency. These will be reviewed periodically by the
ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
The Act is accompanied by an implementation road map that includes a graduated
sanctions regime applicable between 2011 and 2014 when all Member States are
expected to be in full compliance. This is to accommodate the differences in
the implementation of the axle load regime in the region.
The one-day meeting of the ministers also proposed a draft Regulation relating
to the denomination and establishment of the rules for the functions,
organization and mode of operations of the ECOWAS Project Preparation and
Development Unit (PPDU).
The PDIU, later re-designated the PPDU, was set up in 2005 as an ECOWAS Unit
with responsibility for developing bankable infrastructure projects and
stimulate private sector investment in this sector.
The draft regulation for the PPDU, which relocated to Lome in 2008, defines
the governance organs of the PPDU which includes a Steering Committee and a
Directorate. It also defines the internal administrative arrangements for the
The nine-member Steering Committee is composed of representatives of the
ECOWAS Commission, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, Member
States, technical and financial partners as well as the private sector.