Minister Targets Overloaded Trucks Again

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Cambodia spends about $180 million a year on road maintenance thanks to overloaded trucks and the Transport Ministry has threatened to confiscate trucks that do not comply with the law, according to officials.
Transport and Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol told reporters after a meeting yesterday that the ministry has collected about 500 million riel (about $125,000) in fines in its attempts to curb transport overloading, but said it is not nearly enough to properly repair roads that have been damaged as a result of the practice.
“We have to seize those overloaded trucks to ban them from destroying the roads. We don’t need the penalty money, but we want all transport companies to respect the law and work together to protect the roads,” he said.
“What we do now is to educate the transport companies to understand the law and the impact from [trucks] being overloaded.”
He said the government has spent millions of dollars building roads to help expand the commerce and tourism sectors. However, some roads have been destroyed in just a few years thanks to overloaded vehicles.
Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association president and Executive Director of Line Haul Express (Cambodia) Sin Chanthy welcomed the government’s decision to crack down on the practice, but suggested the government reconsider its plan of seizing overloaded vehicles from companies.
He said alternatively, the government could impose serious penalties on overloaded trucks by withdrawing the company’s business license.
He also suggested the government enforce road standards before using heavy-handed tactics because occasional freight containers and trucks imported to Cambodia are overloaded on arrival. He said it is difficult to limit loading due to the varied natured of imports from other Asean countries and the government should consider improving the quality of the roads it builds.
“We are trying to limit the amount of loading, but sometimes the containers arriving in Cambodia are loaded one to two tons over their proper weight and we have no idea, therefore, we have to pay a penalty,” he said.
“However, the overloading of goods that destroys the roads are caused by illegal businesspeople and the companies which did not register in the association,” he said.
Mr. Chanthy suggested the government suspend a business’s license for one-two years, rather than confiscating vehicles.
On Wednesday, Mr. Chanthol said he asked the Shanghai Construction Group, the company charged with developing infrastructure such as the ring road, to pay more attention to the quality of construction to ensure roads last longer.
Last month the transport minister blamed unlicensed truck modification garages as the cause of overloading trucks, threatening to shut down any garage that failed to apply for a license.

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