Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120


17th August 1920, Page 10
17th August 1920
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 10, 17th August 1920 — MOTOR TRANSPORT ON THE GOLD COAST.
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

In an Interview Brigadier-General F. G. Guggisberg, Governor of the Colony, Indicates the Requirements in Connection with an Extensive Mechanical Transport Service which would Help to Open Up the Country.

THE GREAT possibilities of the Crown Colony of the Gold Coast in regard to motor transport were briefly glanced at in an article, dealing with West Africa generally, which appeared in these pages on March 20th, 1919. It was therein indicated, on the authority of Mr. J. A. Barbour James, for many years a member of the West African administrative staff, that the Government of the colony was, and had long'

been, fully alive to the importance of providing the country with an efficient transport service and good roads, and that a very generous scheme had been conceived for furnishing a number of arterial feeders to the railways at Accra and Seccondee, "for which the natives have been calling ever since the Seccondee-Kumasi Railway was lowilt."

A few days ago, the writer was privileged to discuss this question, in its larger aspect, with a gentleman who is not only keenly interested in motor transport, but who also believes, and has publicly declared, thatthe light motorcar and lorry have proved the salvation of the-Gold Coast owing to the impossibi . lity of providing animal draught in the fly-belt. This opinion was expressed (and recorded in The Commercial Motor at the time) last autumn by Brigadier General F. G. Guggisberg, C.M.G., D.S.O., on the ev). of his departure to

c8 take up his new duties as Governor of the Gold Coast.

His Excellency, it may be recalled, declared that the problem of transport was one of the, most urgent, and added that he would deal with it immediately on his arrival.

"Nile trade possibilities of the Gold Coast are enormous," he said, "but any great extension of our present trade is prohi bited owing to lack ol transport." ..

That was said in Septemloer last, and a great deal has happened on the Gold Coast since then. General Guggisberg is back in England again, after a wonderful tour of his new, big domain, performed by means of. motor transport -the only method of quick progression in many parts of those wild regions. The. tour, of course, has enabled his Excellency to learn, at first hand, the requirements of the country in the matter of motor transport, and also to bring back with him a well-thought-out scheme for submission to the Imperial authorities.

It must not, however, be supposed that General .Guggisberg's transport plans for the betterment of the Gold Coast exist merely et-t. paper. On the. contrary, much is being done there daily, and an extensive mechanical transport. service is already in walla] operation.


The Government are spending about a quarter of a million a year," he said to the writer, in his office in Westminster, the other day, "and our policy is to get what rolling stock and material we require

from every part of the Empire. But, at the present moment, we are being driven out of the United Kingdom for our motorcars and lorries and railway material, and forced to go to the American market, not only because such things are cheaper there, but also on ac count of the important fact that we can get much quicker delivery than appears to be possible in this country.

" What we want on the Gold Coast is a lorry that is powerful without being too heavy—one capable of taking a trailer behind it. A lorry that would carry not more than a ton would be preferred—the trailer might carry another ton, or half a ton. I Want a lorry that can be so geared down that. the native driver cannot run it at a greater speed than 15 miles an hour. We are prepared to give a good order to the Concern which can give us a really well geared type of motor lorry that will not get overheated in our tropical climate." .Questioned as to the capabilities of the native motor lorry drivers, General Guggisberg said :

"There is a decided tendency to drive too fast and to run away with themselves, so to. speak. They dash all over the place with their Ford, Studebaker, and Overlan.d cars, and the result, especially when going down an incline, can be imagined. Not infrequently, broken-up lorries are observable on every part of the road. We are doing our best to train the natives properly, but they soon get out of hand, and the best solution of the difficulty will lae, I think, the providing of a lorry that can he specially geared to meet the exigencies of the situation."

As regards the roads of the Colony, his Excellency said : "Our roads are not good, but, then, neither are they bad. Road making is, hewe v e r, proceeding by leaps and bounds. What is wanted is concerted action. In some districts the natives are very keen about road making, but, perhaps, in other districts they are not so keen—with the result; of course, that you sometimes get sandwiched between two good road sections a section that is pretty bad. But in all probability the time is not far, distant when all these things will be co-ordinated. Much has already been done in that direction; as the natives generally realize what is meant by a good road and the part

it plays in the prosperity of their country. The method of procedure is this : The natives make the pioneer roads under their own chiefs, and, of course, on the advice of the political officer. When these are completed in the rough, they are taken over by the Public Works Department, which does the re4. Personally, I think the best plan is to cement the roads at places where traffic is thickest—say, at the various centres where the produce of the country is concentrated."

General Gugg,,isberg, the writer found, believes in thorough and systematic oyerhauling where motor vehicles are concerned, " Unless you have at least one car in every four in constant, overhaul you are never going to run an efficient lorry service," he said. 'Workmanship is everything, and one's whole stock should be overhauled every month—especially on the Gold Coast— whether there is anything wrong with it or not. In no other way can you, keep a motor transport service efficient-:' This, by-the-by, is a point -which is strongly eni-phasized by His Excellency, in an official report which he has drawn up for the consideration of the Colonial Office. Incidentally, he speaks of the " enormousdernands" for Ford cars and lorries by private firms on the Gold Coast—a paint worth pondering by the British makers of commercial motors—which so affected the situation that the Government were forced to purchase other makes at nearly double the Ford prices. This, however, the Governor regards as

a not unmixed evil, and he is fully of the opinion that it will be found that the dearer makes are the more economical in the long. rim. The resultant chief disadvantage was the difficulty experienced in the repair shops with cars of different makes.

General Guggisberg, it maybe added in conclusion, is anxious to see esta,blished in the colony a Government •mechanical transport service that shall be, so to speak, all embracing. "In spite of the fact, he says, " that we have numerous motor roads cutting up the cocoa districts, and leading either to the coast towns or to the railways, one sees every day on these roads long strings of carriers transporting on their heads for distances of many miles cocoa which should be conveyed in lorries."

This means that labour for other purposes is very scarce throughout the country, where men are wanted for the repair of roads and the transport of Government stores without a mecha,nical transport service, and, with carriers so scarce as to be unobtainable in some districts, building work in the country is nearly everywhere at a standstill. The lack of motor transport also closely affects many Government departments, as it leads to the expenditure of unnecessarily large amounts on carriers, even when such are obtainable. The transport of Government officials during inspecting tours is, in the present circumstances, a very expensive undertaking, seeing that local firms charge anything between 210 and 220 a day for the. use of their lorries.

For tliessi and other reasons, His Excellency has formed an entirely new department as a branch of the Public Works Department, which, he explains, will effect a large saving in many directions. A considerable amount has been spent on the purchase of ears and lorries, and His Excellency promises that during his sojourn in England, he will go thoroughly into the question of stanaatclization of vehicles arid parts. J.H.K.

comments powered by Disqus