Ban on heavy trucks reduces fuel supply

Sunday, 5th October, 2008


By Chris Kiwawulo
and Reuben Olita

THE flow of fuel into the country has been interrupted since the Kenyan authorities impounded all four-axle trucks destined for Uganda.

Hundreds of impounded trucks have been parked on the highway between Mariakani, Malaba and Busia border posts following a ban on heavy trucks effective from October 1.

Both Kenya and Uganda decided to slap a ban on four-axle (eight wheels) trucks after engineers argued that they damage the roads and make the governments incur high costs to repair them.

But while the Kenyan ban became effective on September 30, after it had been extended for three months, Uganda has given its truck drivers a deadline of November 31 to adapt to the new regulations.

The Kenyan action has caused fears of a looming fuel shortage in Uganda and the neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A number of filling stations in Kampala over the weekend reported that they had not received any supplies since Thursday. Many were seen waving away motorists since their tanks were empty.

Shell Uganda chairman Ivan Kyayonka said many of their tanks loaded with fuel had been impounded. Shell, one of the leading importers of fuel, transports over 95% of its fuel products by road.

�Truck movement has been interfered with. Many of our trucks are stuck in Kenya and this will definitely affect us,� he said.

He, however, added that they had asked the transport minister to intervene.
�I think the two governments will reach a solution. Our request is that they allow those tanks that had been filled with fuel to come and we modify them before they go back,� Kyayonka said.

Transport minister John Nasasira was not available for comment yesterday but a senior official in the ministry confirmed that the fuel dealers had contacted them. �All I can tell you is that the issue is being handled at a diplomatic level,� he said.

Many truck drivers at the border posts were yesterday seen modifying their axles.

Over 100 others were still parked at Malaba border and at Amagoro weigh-bridge as they were waiting for instructions from their bosses to remove the axles.

Kenya�s transport minister, Chirau Ali Makwere, has vowed not to relax the ban, saying Kenya was the only country in the world where �we are damaging our own roads.�

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
Procurement Consultant
Gsm:  +250-08470205
Home: +250-55104140
P.O. Box 3867
East Africa
Blog: http://www.cepgl.blogspot.com
Skype ID : Kayisa66

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