Home Business Shippers incur more expenses due to the Doli Bridge collapse

Shippers incur more expenses due to the Doli Bridge collapse

Economics Bridge Concerns
Economics Bridge Concerns

The rerouting of haulage and heavy-duty trucks from Techiman through Fulfulso – Damongo to Sawla instead of Techiman through Bole to Sawla following the collapse of the Doli Bridge has brought extra costs and additional responsibilities to shippers, and customs officials, respectively.

Mr Abdul-rasheed Braimah, National Vice Chairman, Ghana Haulage Truck Drivers Association, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency at Bole on the situation when the news team visited the Doli Bridge site to ascertain the extent of damage, said they (haulage and heavy-duty truck drivers) spent additional day on the roads because the new route or corridor was far longer than the old corridor.

He said given that, they spent more money on fuel to cover the distance, adding some portions of the new corridor were also not in good shape resulting in slowing down of movement and frequent breakdown of their trucks, which also had its challenges depending on the nature of goods they carried.

He added that the Damongo to Sawla stretch was sparsely populated making it difficult for them to get artisans to fix their trucks when they developed fault along that stretch.

He said they were now spending more days on the roads to arrive at their destinations, which were neighbouring countries to the north, appealing to authorities to expedite work on fixing the Doli Bridge to enable them to return to the old route.

The Doli Bridge in the Bole District of the Savannah Region, which connects the southern parts of the country to the Upper West Region and other neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, was washed away on September 17, 2023, following a downpour, which forced a dam by the side of the bridge to break its banks.

Following the incident, traffic was diverted to other routes whilst authorities moved in to pour boulders on the stretch as a temporary measure to allow only smaller cars and buses to use the area, which was narrow with steep slope, whilst efforts were being made to mobilise resources to reconstruct the bridge.

However, articulated trucks started using the bridge, and due to its narrow and slopy nature, an articulated truck slipped on it (bridge) on October 04, 2023, blocking traffic in the area again.
Following this, authorities banned articulated trucks from using the bridge, and directed them to use only the new route, which is Techiman through Fulfulso to Sawla.

Meanwhile, when the GNA visited the site of the collapsed Doli Bridge, there were iron rods to indicate efforts to begin the actual reconstruction of the bridge, but no serious work had started.

The GNA’s visit to the area and its interaction with other duty-bearers in the Bole District have revealed that the use of the new route has also presented additional responsibilities to officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at Bole as they work to ensure that goods in transit to other countries are not sold on the country’s market.

A source at the Customs Division of GRA at Bole told the GNA that they found it difficult to get officers to monitor trucks that broke down along Damongo to Sawla stretch because the distance from the corridor was too long.

The Ghana Shippers’ Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and other stakeholders have been embarking on trade mission to neighbouring countries to increase trade volumes by getting more cargo to the country’s ports.

These engagements saw cargo transit increase from 500 tonnes in 1994 to one million tonnes currently.
Shippers prefer the country’s ports because of the minimum cost they incur in transporting their cargoes to neighbouring countries.

Mr Frederick Atogiyire, Tamale Branch Manager, Ghana Shippers’ Authority, in an interview with the GNA on the effects of the challenges being faced by the haulage and truck drivers following the collapse of the Doli Bridge, said the situation was worrying as it increased costs for shippers.

He said if the situation persisted, some shippers could decide to relocate to ports in other neighbouring countries, which could affect trade facilitation and revenue for the country.

He added his voice to calls for the bridge to be fixed on time to reduce shippers’ cost of transporting cargo out of the country.

Meanwhile, some artisans at Bole, who rendered services to trucks on transit, said their businesses had taken a nosedive as the trucks did not pass the area again.

Mr Mohammed Abdul-Latif, a Vulcanizer at Bole, told the GNA that he mended car tyres and blew air cleaners for the trucks, adding that since the rerouting of the trucks away from the area, he could barely make meaningful amount of money to take care of his family.

Mr Abdul-Rahman Razak, a Mechanic at Bole, said he serviced the trucks and sold spare parts to the drivers, however, that had stopped, which had affected his daily sales, making it difficult for him to raise enough income for his needs.

Madam Veronica Alele Heming, Bole District Chief Executive told the GNA that the situation was negatively affecting economic activities in the district as artisans and other businesses, who served the trucks and their drivers, were not operating at optimal levels.

She spoke about efforts being made to repair the bridge, saying iron rods were sent to the site, adding that work would soon start as the rains were over.

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