BY REX MPHISA
The situation on the Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge Border Post is back to normal after days of chaos caused by upgrades at the country’s busiest port of entry.
Truck drivers were spending up to 10 days in snaking queues at the border after Zimbabwe introduced new toll fees pegged in foreign currency.
Traffic was also slowed down by construction works amid fears the chaos would see transporters opting for more convenient routes, prejudicing Beitbridge.
ZimBorders spokesman François Diedrechsen said insignificant short-term movement in commercial from Beitbridge to Kazungula and other routes was observed during the crisis.
“While there may be some short-term movement from one border crossing to another, we believe our improved processes and crossing speed resulted in time and money savings to our clients,” Diedrechsen said in an interview.
“We have received comments from various transporter groups where they made comparisons pointing out that some had sent trucks in both directions at the same time.
“Those going through Beitbridge had fast turnaround time than the alternative routes.”
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ZimBorders Consortium is undertaking the US$300 million Beitbridge’s modernisation project that will see new terminal buildings being constructed.
A fortnight ago, South Africa expressed frustration at the congestion and delays at the Beitbridge Border post with that country’s Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi piling blame on Zimbabwean authorities.
Truckers were spending several days at the border owing to attendant delays resulting from recently introduced processing procedures by Zimbabwean authorities, Motsoaledi said.
He described the new measures by Zimbabwean authorities such as demanding United States dollar toll fees in cash without engaging their South African counterparts as a mockery to African Union agreements on free trade.
The toll fees are pegged at US$200 and $340 for small trucks and abnormal trucks respectively.