Civil works to upgrade Beitbridge Border Post into a modern commercial hub have resumed after the Zimborders Consortium secured nearly US$300 million for the project.
The upgrading of the country’s busiest inland port of entry and one of the region’s key transit points, is part of a raft of measures the New Dispensation is rolling out to promote the ease of doing business and trade facilitation.
Work was temporarily stopped due to the Covid-19 induced-lockdowns, which were instituted in March in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Zimborders Consortium is made up of a group of Zimbabweans, South Africans, international entrepreneurs, and financial institutions and experts.
The project is being implemented under a Public-Private Partnership with the Government, and will be privately funded with a 17 and half years’ operating concession period following the completion of the construction works expected within two years.
The project’s contracts manager, Mr Herkie Sandernbergh of Raubex Construction, said recently during a tour of infrastructure projects in Beitbridge by the secretary for Local Government and Public Works, Mr Zvinechimwe Churu, that they were on course to completing the civil works within the set timeline.
He said the modernisation programme was being rolled out in three phases among them; pre-commencement works (phase 1), internal border infrastructure development (phase 2) and outside border infrastructure development (phase 3).
Raubex workers moved on-site on November 27 and they are now busy with civil works on the commercial arrivals side, where a new commercial offices complex is being built.
Other works are; separation of traffic into buses, light vehicles, tourists, commercial vehicles, and construction of a commercial bridge to link with South Africa, the upgrading of Beitbridge Municipality’s key, ICT infrastructure, residential buildings, a sewerage dam, civil services, and new water reservoirs.
Zimborders Consortium chief executive, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said last week that they were now moving with speed after securing funding.
“We are pleased to have received the support of such a wide range of financial institutions on this critical infrastructure project for the entire region,” he said.
“Beitbridge is one of busiest border posts in Africa, which not only connects Zimbabwe and South Africa, but also serves as the transit point for the majority of north-south trade in Southern Africa. We have the ideal team to ensure the successful construction and long-term management of the concession and are ready to start construction.
The Herald understands that the main aim of the border upgrading project is to reduce the time people and cargo freight spend at the port of entry
In addition, it is also envisaged that the volume of human and cargo will increase five times when the project is completed.
An average of 200 000 travellers, 30 000 buses, 100 000 light vehicles, 35 000 commercial trucks use the border post monthly in good times.
President Mnangagwa laid the foundation for the project to take off in July 2018 and said the initiative was in line with enhancing the ease of doing business and further the Zimbabwe is Open for Business policy.