For years, the Beitbridge Border post commanded 95% of goods transported on road mainly from sub-Saharan’s largest port, Durban.
However, in recent years, it has seen massive decline in trade volumes partly due to its inefficiencies especially from the Zimbabwean side.
According to Statistics SA, live export animals’ volumes passing through the Beitbridge Border post declined by 45% from 43,838,245 in 2017 to 23,973,081 in 2018. In the same period, the border saw a decline of 28% of live animal exports value, down from R18 billion in 2017 to R13 billion in 2018.
Luke Zoromera, a cross border truck driver for one of South Africa logistical companies, said the Kazungula Bridge was welcomed.
“So Kazungula will come as a great relief from RSA/Namibia to Zambia because there is no excessive border waiting times, no tolls in Botswana, no roadblock harassments and delays. There are good flat roads in Botswana with no potholes and bumps and towns are spaced enough,” he said.
Zoromera said it took 3 days get clearance on Zimbabwean Beitbridge Border whereas with Botswana using all its borders, it only took 2 hours.
The Kazungula Border post is a joint initiative between the Botswana and Zambian governments costing approximately US$260 million. It is set to be launched on 10 May with additional funding coming from the African Development Bank (AfDA) and Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA).
Considered one of the best north-south corridor initiatives, this One Stop Border Post is about 923 metres long covering the Zambesi River which is set to attract SADC logistical companies.
Currently, using the Zimbabwean Beitbridge route was 150 km shorter to Zambia and the rest of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) than Bostwana. The Kazungula Border is expected to be a game changer especially for RSA agricultural exports.
According to the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), there were about 1136 trucks moving between Musina and Zimbabwe, and 248 trucks moving between Botswana and Tom Burke.
However, this figure, according to said the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA), is expected to switch in favour of Botswana/Zambia route with many trucks expected to opt for this new infrastructure development for convenience.
“Due to the regular occurrence of empty hauls, transport costs along Beitbridge Border post are almost double that of other corridors where inbound and outbound traffic movements is equal,” said CBRTA in its annual state of cross-border operations.