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Zimborders levy riles cargo transporters

by Staff reporter
01 Apr 2022 at 09:35hrs | Views
CARGO transportation firms are in a fix following the introduction of what is called "Zimborders levy" at Beitbridge Border Post, which has increased the cost of operations. This levy currently pegged at US$400 for a two-way trip per truck is on top of the R325 (US$22,31) paid by truckers as gate pass to authorities.
Beitbridge Border Post

Following the implementation of the Beitbridge Border Post refurbishment by Zimborders Consortium, the Zimbabwe Independent is informed that a new levy was introduced.

The Zimborders Consortium is made up of individuals and investors including Zimbabwean, South African and international entrepreneurs and financial institutions. The expansion project valued at US$240 million will include a major upgrade of roads to and from the border post, as well as all supporting infrastructure.

Phase one of the project has since been launched. The matter, which has brought sleepless nights on cargo transporters, has been exacerbated by South African clients, who are considering using trucking companies plying the Kazungula border post route in Botswana.

"There is now a levy only called Zimborders and this is on top of other punitive levies we have been grappling with. This is not sustainable. South African clients now prefer trucking companies that pass through Kazungula. This new levy is an albatross. That means getting cargo from South Africa is no longer viable looking at this Zimborders levy," a trucking company owner, who requested anonymity, said.

This comes as several Zimbabwean cargo transportation firms are collapsing under the weight of punitive taxes charged by state agencies manning trunk roads, as hundreds of northbound foreign haulage trucks skirt the country to avoid the costs.

Foreign firms have since mapped cheaper routes by picking their cargo through ports like Walvis Bay before heading into Sadc through Namibia and Botswana into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi and Zambia.

Zimborders chief executive Francois Diedrechsen said a number of clients have expressed satisfaction over quicker transit times.

"While any charge will always lead to a small percentage of unhappy people especially when the levy was introduced, the bulk of our clients have expressed that they are satisfied with improved efficiencies. We have in fact seen an uptake in customers using the Beitbridge route," Diedrechsen said.

Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Felix Mhona did not respond to questions sent to him on Whatsapp and SMS. His mobile phone went unanswered several times. Northbound traffic had a boost last year when Zambia and Botswana commissioned the US$2 billion Kazungula Border Post, helping cargo cross the Zambezi. A list of fees released by Kazungula in May last year indicated that in some areas, Zimbabwean charges were three or four times higher.

Apart from the Zimborders levy, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) also demands US$0,45 per litre fuel duty, while the Vehicle Inspection Department  (VID) demands US$50 for annual inspection certificate of fitness.

This is in addition to a US$23 toll fee charged at Beitbridge Border Post per single entry per truck, with operators paying another US$20 road access fees per trip to the government of Zimbabwe.

Other state agencies demanding taxes and fees include the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), which collects an annual US$60 for the hazardous chemicals permit, while Zimra also demands another US$30 per truck for every trip for its cargo tracking system.

The Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) wants US$150 per commercial vehicle per annum, while the Ministry of Transport requires US$125 for the road motor transportation annual service licence.

Source - The Zimbabwe Independent