The economic impact of enforcing axle load regulation - the case of Zambia

The economic impact of enforcing axle load regulation - the case of Zambia


Odd I. Larsen, James Odeck, Anne Kjerkreit


Møreforsking Molde AS

Report nr:

Report 0804



Publication type:


Page number:

This study is an economic assessment of regulating and enforcing axle load control of heavy vehicles in Zambia. This enforcement is part of a wider Axle Load Control Programme to prevent premature deterioration of roads and bridges, implemented in 2004 with a time frame of fours years. Among the many objectives of the programme, a new regulation pertaining to maximum permissible axle loads and gross vehicle mass (GVM) was approved in 2007 and included in the Roads Act.
Efficient enforcement of axle load regulations will have two major impacts: (1) Heavy axles (as measured by GVM) inflict an excessive cost in terms of wear and tear on the roads. They may cause additional damage to bridges and impede the safety of traffic. Thus, efficient axle load regulation will lead to a reduction in maintenance cost to the road keeper, i.e., the government. (2) On the other hand, enforcing a strict regulation will imply that excessive payload on overloaded vehicles must be transported by additional vehicles and hence increase vehicle-kilometres driven by heavy vehicles. These added vehiclekilometres will increase the cost of moving any given volume of goods for road hauliers. The costs associated with this second impact may to some extent counteract the gains associated with reduced wear and tear on roads. The economic assessment has therefore focused on these two major impacts, rather than on the total Axle Load Programme per se.