Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) currently conducting an on-spot assessment of EAC organs, institutions and facilities on Wednesday toured and inspected the Vigwaza Weighbridge located 80 kilometres from the Tanzanian port city, Dar es Salaam.
The weighbridge, constructed in 2014 as part of the one-stop inspection station facility in Tanzania, is among others meant to help reduce transit cargo travel time, and enhance road safety by providing rest zones for drivers up to 12 hours a day.
It is one of the three similar stations constructed under the east Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Troject (EATTFP).
MP François Xavier Kalinda (Rwanda), who was part of the tour, told The New times that:
"There used to be seven weighbridges along the Central Corridor and these were reduced to three following the enactment of the EAC Vehicle Axle Load Control Act, 2013 by EALA to facilitate movement of goods. It is good to note that at the weigh bridge trucks are weighed and receive a weigh ticket and this operation doesn't exceed 15 minutes," reports the Times.
This law was assented to by Heads of States in 2016.
Besides having customs controls and a police checkpoint, there is a weighing office building and ample parking space, among others.
Alpha Maneno, a long haul truck driver often doing Rwanda and Burundi trips, told The New Times that the trip is much easier now at this particular weighbridge “but there is lots of congestion on others elsewhere."
The weighbridge also has weigh in motion (WIM) systems used for screening overloaded trucks from the main stream.
Officials at the station told lawmakers that in spite of the benefits, there are challenges including: fast changing vehicle technology which poses a risk of vehicle classification; and unstable internet connectivity which often causes poor functioning of the CCTV system in place.
Over 80 percent of Rwanda's import and export cargo goes through the central corridor and the weighbridge is one of those key elements introduced in line with enhancing transport logistics and enhancing trade along the corridor.
Lawmakers on Monday begun an on-site assessment of both the central corridor and the Northern Corridor with two teams deployed on each. The team on the central corridor kickstarted it's tour in Zanzibar while the one up north started in Mombasa, Kenya.
The lawmakers of the newly sworn in fourth Assembly will traverse the region taking notes and will eventually meet up in Kigali on February 24 to compare notes and wrap up their field trip.
The head of the central corridor delegation, MP Muhia Wanjuki (Kenya) said that being new to the Assembly, they need to have hands-on appreciation of the concept of the EAC integration.
"One practical venue is through on-spot assessment of EAC institutions, installations or projects, and major facilities that support our Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union."