Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) reduces the cargo transport time from Mombasa to Malaba with automated weighbridge technology installed by SGS.
The Northern Corridor is an 8,800 km road through Kenya, which acts as a major gateway to the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and northern Tanzania.
Axle load weighbridges on the Northern Corridor are required to monitor the weight of cargo loads and protect the highway against damage from overloaded trucks. However, until recently, a cargo truck travelling from Mombasa to Malaba would take at least six days – two days for travel and four days to stop at each of the multiple weighbridges scattered along the route.
Reducing travel time and congestion
To find an innovative solution to reducing travel time and congestion, while ensuring weight allowances are adhered to, KeNHA appointed SGS.
SGS was contracted to upgrade and manage the network of weighbridges throughout Kenya to enhance road safety, facilitate trade by decongesting weighbridge stations and improve data generation and collection.
An innovative solution
SGS installed advanced technology, such as High Speed Weighing in Motion (HSWIM) systems, which removes human discretion from weighbridge operation. With underground sensors imbedded in the road, HSWIM automatically detects trucks that weigh more than the legal limit, selecting them for static weighing.
As the HSWIM system can weigh trucks as they move normally on the highway, the need to stop each and every truck has been drastically reduced. From the Port of Mombasa through the Mariakani, Athi River, Gilgil and Webuye weighbridges, truck drivers are no longer stopped unless they exceed legal weight limits.
Isaac Wanjohi, the SGS weighbridge manager at the Gilgil weighbridge station in Nakuru County, said: “The technology recently became operational at Gilgil, which was a location notorious for causing massive traffic snarl-ups. Now, the HSWIM sensor only directs trucks that are carrying more than the legal weight limit to the static scale for confirmation. All other trucks are allowed to continue their journey without having to turn into the weigh station.”
“If a driver decides to transgress by failing to pass through the HSWIM screening lane, a police officer directs the driver to pass through a static scale for confirmation. Those found to have violated the legal weight limit are taken to court where they are charged and fined accordingly.”
Robust weighbridge software has also been employed, which does not allow for manual entry or manipulation of weight results.
Muita Ngatia, KeNHA’s axle load control manager, explains: “The technology has reduced human contact and motivated motorists to comply with the rules, drastically reducing corruption at the weighbridges. Initially, it was the police who decided which vehicle to weigh at the static scale, but with the automatic system, there is no short cut. The system decides.”
Other innovative technology installed by SGS includes automatic number plate recognition cameras, cameras for automatically recording truck details at the weighbridges, traffic control equipment and systems, census loops and loggers, and lighting and security systems.
Static weighing has been improved by the installation of multideck scales that are highly accurate and offer fast axle group vehicle weight determination for law enforcement instead of weighing one axle at a time.
A closed-loop, one-direction weighbridge station layout controlled by barriers and automatic boom arms ensures that non-compliant trucks cannot exit the weighbridge station until they have complied with the legal weigh limits. Once they have complied the system automatically opens the exit control booms to allow the truck to leave the station.
The HSWIM system and traffic control systems were officially inaugurated by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure at the Mariakani weighbridge in September 2014, before being extended to other locations along the Northern Corridor route.
In all, SGS Kenya operates 11 weighbridges on behalf of KeNHA. All technology upgrades were completed in May 2015, including a central weighbridge management system installed at the KeNHA headquarters where all weighbridge data is collected and stored and which KeNHA uses to monitor the weighbridge operations.
Muita Ngatia concludes: “The SGS system has reduced the cost of transporting cargo in the region as less time is wasted at the weighbridges. This means transporters can now make several trips in a week.”