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Traders, transporters decry mobile weighbridge variations

By Titus Too | January 11th 2021

KeNHA planned to build 15 additional virtual weighbridge stations. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

A section of transporters and maize traders in the North Rift region want the Transport Ministry to address alleged discrepancies between mobile and fixed weighbridges. 

This, they said, has frustrated businesses.

The transporters also queried variance in weight measures by the mobile units and the fixed weighbridges.

The traders said in Eldoret on Saturday that they were losing money in fines after being accused of overloading at mobile weighbridge points, in contrast to the recommended cargo measures at fixed weighbridges.

“Transporters are now refusing to ferry our grains to Nairobi and Mombasa because of fear of being arrested by officials manning mobile weighbridges,” said Robert Kibet, a trader.

Jeremiah Kosgei, a trader, called for the ascertainment of the calibration of the mobile weighbridges, saying they vary with fixed weighbridges at Gilgil, Webuye and Mlolongo.

“There have been cases when transporters are accused by mobile weighbridge units of overloading but on reaching Gilgil, they are found to be okay. We use weigh machines approved and certified by the government’s weights and measures units,” Kosgei said.

Ferrying produce

Kosgei noted that there has been an increase in volumes of produce being ferried to Nairobi and Mombasa for processing, adding that mobile weighbridges have frustrated transporters.

David Kemei observed that traders were losing out as transporters shun ferrying produce due to frustration at mobile weighbridges.

“Transporters are often accused by the mobile weighbridge officers of overloading by an average of two to five tonnes but on reaching fixed weighbridges at Webuye, Gilgil or Mlolongo, it is found to be within recommended weight. Mobile bridges should be checked for faults,” added Kemei.

Kenya National Highway Authority North Rift Director Franklin Kipyator said mobile weighbridges are calibrated regularly.

“Anyone with a complaint can raise it with our office so that we can compare to the satisfaction of all parties,” Kipyator said.

“There have been such complaints. After arrests, there have been contestations. We advise transporters to compare the discrepancy using a machine near the Eldoret NTSA, which most of them believe in.”

He advised transporters to familiarise themselves with East African Community overload charges for 2021-2030 that came into effect on January 1. 

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