, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – The Kenya Ferry Services has installed weighbridges at the Likoni crossing to check the tonnage of vehicles ferried across the channel.
The Sh18 million weighbridges on the island and Likoni mainland ramps are part of plans to regulate and monitor ferry capacity to improve safety.
The project which is in its commissioning stage is also expected to enhance revenue as charges will be pegged on the weight of vehicles.
“We have introduced the weighing of trailers, lorries and other vehicles which use the ferry to ensure we know the capacity we are carrying. This will create efficiency of service, improve ferry safety and help prevent accidents as most vehicles lose control due to over loading,” Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director, Musa Hassan Musa said.
All vehicles using the channel will undergo weight checks before being cleared to board the ferries to enable the company determine the actual volume of cargo ferried at any given time for proper planning and decision making.
“Overloaded trucks are the main cause of damage to ferry prows which means we have to undertake frequent maintenance. Determining the right weight of vehicles will help us minimise the damage these vehicles exert on ferry prows thus reducing maintenance costs,” the MD said.
The company spends more than Sh60 million annually to fully maintain and operate the current five ferries at the channel.
“Currently, the billing has been calibrated to coincide with the current toll rates thus no change in toll charges,” he added.
About 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles are ferried between the island and the south coast mainland every day.
Kenya Ferry Services was established in 1989 by the government and has played a pivotal role in linking the island to the mainland south of Mombasa.
Unlike the northern side of Mombasa that is linked by bridges at Nyali, Mtwapa Kilifi and Sabaki the south coast depends solely on the ferries.
The service is operated free for passengers as a government social obligation and motorists pay a minimal charge.