March 23, 2015 By John Baimba Sesay in China
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Transport and Aviation is finalizing arrangement for the shipment of 100 buses to the country following last year’s signing of a contract between the ministry and China Poly Group Corporation for the supply of the said buses.
The 100 vehicles, which were manufactured by Zhongtong Buses in the People’s Republic of China, are expected in Sierra Leone soon as arrangements are now being made by China Poly Group Corporation with shipping agencies for shipment of the buses.
As part of the contract entered into between the ministry and China Poly Group Corporation, a three-man delegation from Sierra Leone led by General Manager of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Cooperation, Bockarie Lewis Kamara, is presently in Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, conducting a pre-delivery assessment of the manufactured buses, with specific attention to materials, components and construction procedures.
The team, also including a consultant from the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Engineer Lamin A. Koroma, and Alfred Johnny, Head of Workshop, on Friday, 20th March commenced with a general assessment of the production facilities of Zhongtong Bus in Liaocheng City, taking a comprehensive appraisal of the materials used in the manufacturing of the buses, including suspension frames and body structure.
The delegation also looked at the electrical components and fittings, preparation of the bodies, from welding to spraying, which was done by electrolytic methods and robots in the finishing stages.
Consultant from the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Engineer Lamin A. Koroma, disclosed that “as per the assessment during the first day, the work done by the manufacturers was impressive and the manufacturing requirements as per contract signed were met”.
General Manager of SLRTC, Bockarie Lewis Kamara, said: “The manufacturers went by the technical specification which took into account value for money and upholding safety proposals like seating capacity and number of doors in each bus.”
He assured that a comprehensive opinion on the buses is expected from the consultant engineer.
The buses, Kamara added, will help take Sierra Leone to the next stage of meeting the needs of her citizens, especially in the area of public transportation, as mandated by the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation Act, 1964.
In 2014, Transport Minister Leonard Balogun Koroma described the signing of the contract between his ministry and Poly Group Technology in China for the supply of the 100 buses as one that will go a long way in easing the transportation problem facing not just the capital city of Freetown, but the entire country.
The buses are expected to help in addressing problems with city service, airport shuttle, provincial trips and transportation challenges facing Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.