Musina, South Africa — Two South Africa-based Zimbabwean investors have teamed up with international businessmen to establish a multi-million dollar intermodal terminal here.
By Own Correspondent
The Musina Intermodal Terminal, launched on Monday, is a transport hub designed to handle road and rail cargo worth over $10 billion which passes through Beitbridge Border Post monthly.
It is the brainchild of Zimbabweans Isaac Charumbira and David Gotora, who teamed up with a consortium of companies, and their arrival in Musina will create more than 20 000 jobs from main and downstream industries.
Goods to and from Sadc countries north of Zimbabwe, that come through Beitbridge by road, will be dropped and picked by rail at Musina which is expected to reduce transport costs.
Officially opening the terminal yesterday, South African Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies said the initiative was a great stride towards the envisaged African Free Trade Zone.
“We hail such a development. It will decongest roads and promote industrialisation,” he said.
Sadc is working towards a tariffs agreement with countries in the East African bloc to see increased trade within Africa itself.
Davies said unlike colonial governments, which facilitated exports of raw material, Sadc was pushing for the exporting of finished goods.
Zimbabwe, whose Trade and Industry minister Mike Bimha snubbed the event, could have easily had such a hub in the 90s had then Vice-President Joshua Nkomo agreed to a United States bid to create an inland port at Beitbridge.
Investors sought by then Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa had their proposal to deepen the Limpopo River to allow ships to dock at Beitbridge turned down.
Some Zimbabweans, who were part of close to 150 delegates who attended the event at Musina, said the lack of an enabling climate in Zimbabwe had seen citizens export valuable ideas that could create employment.
Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, and head of Zimbabwe’s consular section in South Africa, Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro, attended the event.