Overloading is causing millions of dollars in damage to the country’s road infrastructure, which is valued at approximately N$50 billion.
In order to curb this, Namibia is formulating legislation to criminalise overloading and curb its destructive effect on its roads.
Those found guilty will be forced to pay fees related to the damage caused and according to the distance travelled, as is the case in Zambia.
This is according to Road’s Authority (RA) Chief Executive Officer, Conrad Lutombi, who was speaking at the start of the Joint Axle Load workshop between RA officials and those from Zambia at the Protea Pelican Bay Hotel in Walvis Bay.
“The current system of slapping a culprit with a fine doesn’t correlate to the damage caused, while taxpayers have to pay the difference. Namibia recorded a significant reduction in overloading cases as a result of effective enforcement, but needs an efficient axle road policy to protect investment infrastructure and level the playing field among transporters” said Lutombi.
He said the gathering in Walvis Bay was of huge significance and that the respective stakeholders in attendance should seek and ensure joint approaches to harmonise, protect and preserve roads.
“Roads are an essential part of a country’s economic strategy and (maintaining them is) a very expensive exercise. Namibian roads service various corridors and can thus be regarded as the drivers of the country and the South African Development Community’s trade and economic growth.”
“Therefore road infrastructure should be preserved at all costs,” he added.
Lutombi also provided a brief overview of road-related projects currently happening and being planned in Namibia by the
“Weighbridges play a vital role in preserving and protecting our roads. The idea is to ensure fewer accidents by increasing road safety by constructing more roads. Traffic on our roads increased significantly and blaming road users for all the deaths on it is not a solution. We resolved to expand critical sections in order to accommodate more traffic and to reduce accidents.”
The Director for Commercial and Technical Services at the Zambian Road Development Agency (RDA) Steven Mwale said his country’s delegation was looking forward to visit and learn. “We are here to enhance trade facilitation and to expand Zambian boundaries by making it a land-linked country. This will cut down on transportation, as well as vehicle maintenance costs. Therefore our government embarked on establishing road links with other countries and ports in order to link us with the rest of the world,” he said.
“We are also here to learn and to accelerate or country’s economic growth process. Zambia is in the process of developing a new copper belt in its Northwestern Province and one of the largest copper smelters will be established. I have noticed that some roads are being paved in Namibia. We hope to pave 2 000km of roads and add to the 8 000km of roads that already exists,” said Mwale.
Expectations are also to harmonise the standard of joint axel load network links in Southern Africa.
According to Mwale, East African countries recently came up with their axel load regulations and were in the process of adopting these via their respective parliaments.
RA Transportation Executive Officer Wilfried Brock officially welcomed the invited guests and pointed out that it was important to agree and have a joint strategy in order to harmonise, preserve and enhance the safety of the joint road network existing between the two countries.
Brock called on the delegates to engage in constructive deliberations and said that the linking of the road networks was important for
“Zambia is a landlocked country and the Namibian ports are of huge importance to it. We have decided on Walvis Bay as the venue for the workshop... because we want the visiting delegation to witness and experience our infrastructure firsthand. ”
By Otis Fink Namibian Sun