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The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has called for continuous sensitisation of haulage truck drivers in the transit trade, particularly those in haulage of hazardous cargo for the landlocked countries.

The authority says this has become necessary, following earlier engagements with drivers in 2022 where teething problems in handling dangerous cargo emerged.

Speaking to Joy Business at a sensitisation workshop for truck drivers and owners in Tema, Chief Executive Officer of GSA, Benonita Bismarck said “our conviction at the time to ensure regular sensitisation of key stakeholders was to serve as a risk prevention and mitigating measure. 

The explosion at Appiatse in the Western region earlier this year only reinforces GSA’s call for sensitisation on precautionary measures in carriage of dangerous cargo and recommended actions by the driver in the event of accidental exposure.

The authority’s fact-finding also unearthed infractions of the Road Traffic Regulations, police harassment, malpractices at axle load stations, among others.

Checks earlier this month on the Tema-Paga corridor revealed that there were 80 checkpoints made up of MTTD stops, Customs and Immigration checkpoints, Axle Load stations and Forestry barriers.

The Shippers Authority is however unhappy over illicit payments with the associated delays by these uniformed personnel at the checkpoints.

With the support of the Police Administration, GSA has so far sensitised police officers in Kumasi, Techiman, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa with positive feedback and has plans to extend this to eastern and coastal corridors by mid-year.

Ms. Benonita Bismarck seized the opportunity to remind truck drivers and owners of their importance in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), but was worried of growing political instability in the sub-region which has resulted in the death of some transit drivers.  

Sensitisation needed on haulage of hazardous cargo - Shippers Authority

Assistant Commissioner in charge of Transit, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Peter Ofori Antobre was particular about overloading, diversion of cargo, use of unapproved routes among other infractions.

“When the load is beyond the permissible limit, we shed part of it at the Axle load stations, then the shed goods is transferred into a different truck, attach tracking device and observe protocol for transit goods,” he explained.

On the issue of diversions, Mr. Antobre noted that with their monitoring mechanisms, Customs is able to track these trucks.

“Some drivers send their vehicles for repairs when they reach Kumasi. They overstay and this weakens batteries of the tracking devices but we have our own means of averting diversions,” he added.

He also mentioned that haphazard parking by these drivers endangers other road users and called for punitive actions against offenders.

General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Esther Gyebi Donkor urged the transport drivers to abide by existing laws on transit trade to avoid possible harassment by men in uniform and asked stakeholders to play their role to ensure Ghana’s ports gain good market share in the sub-region.

Director of Operations at the Motor Traffic and Transport Department, Chief Supt. Dr. Samuel Sasu Mensah pointed out that it was erroneous to think uniformed personnel are on the road to harass or extort from drivers.

“The police are primarily on the road to enforce road traffic regulations, educate drivers on the regulation and their duties as well as provide security.” he said.

On the part of National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Deputy Director of Planning and Programme, Daniel Wuaku stated the authority is taking several steps to make the road safe for all users.

Chairman for Concerned Transit Drivers, Mahama Sally Gumah was unhappy over inaction on the part of authorities despite promises made in the past including enforcing weight limit, resting every four hours during their journey, number of checkpoints, just to mention a few.   

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