Transport Minister Blames Garages for Overloading

Source: Khmer Times | Tue, 17 May 2016, by Pav Suy

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Overloaded and modified trucks cause damage to the roads, and in this case to themselves. Supplied

The Minister of Transport and Public Works has targeted unlicensed truck modification garages as the cause of overloading trucks, threatening to shut down any garage that fails to apply for a license.

However the minister did not clarify when the crackdown would officially start.

Last Thursday minister Sun Chanthol announced sweeping weight restrictions on trucks, blaming overloaded vehicles for damaging hundreds of kilometers of the Kingdom’s roads.

During a visit to National Road 11 yesterday, the minister said trucks were being modified at hundreds of unlicensed garages, altering them to transport loads far greater than originally intended by the truck’s manufactures, and threatened to shut down all unlicensed garages.

“There are 1,923 [unlicensed garages] around the country. And we will instruct all provinces to explain to them about the rules on technical specifications and tell them to apply for licenses to ensure legal business operations,” he said.

“We have to follow the law to close the business so it does not operate anymore. If they are unlicensed, we need to take legal action. The ministry won’t do anything against the law.”

However San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network of Social Accountability, said the illegal garages were only one aspect of the problem, and that the government should focus more on curbing the systemic corruption within the transport industry.

“If the officials at the weighing stations did their job properly and did not allow overloaded trucks in exchange for bribes, there would not be such modified trucks on the roads,” he said.

“Those who are found to be corrupt must be held accountable for their work.”

He referenced a truck that damaged the Japanese-funded Neak Leung Bridge in February, which was allowed to travel across the country until it damaged the bridge.

“If there is no demand, there will be no supply of modification services. The closure of garages would not damage their whole business because the modification service is just a small part of the garage business,” he added.

Speaking in Sihanoukville early this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that unofficial fees or bribes accounted for 48 percent of transportation costs, citing a secret report, calling for the Transport Ministry to launch an investigation.

The investigation will be continued at a meeting on Thursday.

 

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