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Cargo traffic surges at Beitbridge Border

by Staff reporter
15 Jun 2020 at 15:11hrs | Views
THE volume of commercial cargo traffic using Beitbridge Border Post has increased since the start of the lockdown period, which most Sadc countries are implementing to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe National Roads Agency (Zinara) show that a total of 48 313 trucks used the country's busiest southern border post between 1 April and 11 June.

Zinara public relations manager, Mr Tendai Mugabe, said they were working with other border authorities both in Zimbabwe and South Africa to minimize delays in the movement of commercial cargo.

"During the period under review we processed entries for 947 light vehicles and 23 697 heavy vehicles (commercial trucks), which were inbound between 1 April and 11 June," he said.

"On the exits, we had 24 616 commercial trucks and 1 242 light vehicles leaving the country through the same border.

"You will also note that a lot of countries are now using Zimbabwe as a transit route, with many borders in the region having been closed.

"Currently we are handling an average of 1 000 trucks per day compared to 600 before the lockdown period.

 "However, we continue working with other stakeholders on both sides of the border to manage the flow of traffic to avoid straining our infrastructure including the New Limpopo Bridge."

The movement of commercial traffic at Beitbridge improved last week after the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) improved clearance service by fast tracking maize and other esential imports like fuel.

The situation had also been worsened by delays at the revenue authority's Document Processing Centres (DPC) in Bulawayo and Harare where documents are processed electronically for all imports and export leaving the country.

The Bulawayo office has a backlog after it was recently closed when one customs officer tested positive for Covid19, while the Harare office was closed for 14 hours for fumigation at the weekend.

This then left the Masvingo DPC office overwhelmed with all commercial cargo bills of entries processing.

Zimra's spokesperson, Mr Francis Chimanda said in a recent statement that they had engaged a number of players to cope with increased Covid-19 related traffic at the country's borders.

Most countries using Zimbabwe as a transit trade route include; Malawi, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique and Democratic People's Republic of Congo.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza has said the current modernization of Beitbridge Border Post at a cost of $241 million will enhance the speed of the flow of both cargo and human traffic.

"The construction includes three new terminal buildings, as well as new roads and gatehouses.

"It also involves redesigning the complete flow of the border post, the introduction of a state of the art ICT system and an online platform to provide world class facilities for commercial operators to clear the border quicker," said the minister.

Source - the herald