The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is working on several measures to speed up the flow of commercial cargo traffic through Beitbridge Border Post where parking space is now limited due to the ongoing construction works to upgrade the port of entry.
Government and the Zimborders consortium is implementing a US$300 million border modernisation of Sadc’s busiest inland port to boost capacity fivefold for human and vehicular traffic. A total of 485 jobs for Zimbabweans will also be created during the course of the construction works for the next 18 months.
At the moment a total of 45 000 commercial trucks, 3000 buses, 10 000 light vehicles, and 500 000 travellers use the border monthly in normal times, although passenger traffic is sharply reduced during the pandemic.
In a statement, Zimra said its traffic handling capacity had been significantly affected by the ongoing extensive construction works at the border.
“This has resulted in the reduction of working and parking space as well as traffic channels.
“This reduction in capacity is anticipated to result in significant congestion and delays in the effective passage of all traffic, particularly northbound traffic,” said the revenue collector.
The delays were likely to persist for the next six weeks but Zimra was doing its best in expediting the movement of cargo through the border post.
“All stakeholders are therefore requested to take note and are hereby encouraged to consider, where possible, the use of alternative transit routes to avoid anticipated delays.
“However, we are hopeful that the construction project will result in the required improvement to the current infrastructure, which will go a long way in creating efficient and effective traffic management for all stakeholders and the economy,” said the revenue collector.
During a recent visit to assess progress on the border modernisation works, Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube said the project will improve the way of doing business here under the One-Stop Border Post concept.
“The project will also have an overspill effect in Beitbridge as the border town’s roads, water, and sewer reticulation infrastructure will be upgraded as well,” he said.
Minister Ncube said Zimborders will also build 200 houses for border officials and upgrade all the necessary ancillary services. Zimra had put more staff on the ground to make the movement of cargo seamless.
Minister Ncube said the weighbridge process for the commercial trucks had been reviewed and was now more efficient and the adoption of a pre-clearance system had also lessened the time goods spend at the border.
The facility involves the declaration and payment of duties before the goods reach a specific port of entry or exit.