Policy Framework

The Harmonized Axle Load Limit is an agreed configuration of maximum axle weights. Axel load limits help reduce damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure due to over-loading and excessive gross vehicle mass. The implementation of the axle load limits are grounded on Article 85 (j) of the Treaty which calls for the adoption and development of regulations and programmes that facilitate transit trade within COMESA. To this effect, Council adopted harmonized axle limits in 1993 which were later revised in 2009.

Programme Description

The Axle Load Limits that are in force for implementation by Member States are as follows:

Steering Single 8 tonnes
Non-Steering Single Single tyres 8 tonnes
  Dual tyres 10 tonnes
Tandem Single tyres 16 tonnes
  Dual tyres 18 tonnes
Tridem Single tyres 24 tonnes
  Dual tyres 24 tonnes
The permissible maximum combination mass is 56000kg

In addition, an Overload Certificate is issued to a loaded vehicle upon weighing by a weighbridge authority and the vehicle needs to produce such certificate on request along its route across Member States. On the basis of the certificate, the authorities should let the vehicle pass without reweighing unless there are doubts in which case they may reweigh the vehicle. This removes the need for multiple weighings within a country and across different COMESA destinations and as such allows smooth flow of trade across countries. It is meant to be issued on a mutually recognized basis among COMESA Member States.

The case of RISM requires a Member State to legislate the COMESA instrument as the basis for implementation.

Performance Assessment

A target of at least 9 countries to implement the axle load limit was set at the beginning of the programme, to date *** countries have achieved the indicator.