Border upgrade  to create 450 jobs Zimborders consortium workers on the construction site at the commercial arrivals section in Beitbridge recently. The border is being upgraded at a cost of US$300 million. — Picture : Thupeyo Muleya

Thupeyo Muleya

Beitbridge Bureau

The modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post at a cost of US$300 million will not only improve the ease of doing business, but will also create 450 jobs.

Civil works went a gear up early this year after the Zimborders Consortium secured nearly US$300 million for the project.

The consortium is made up of a group of Zimbabweans, South Africans, international entrepreneurs, financial institutions and experts.

Upgrading of the country’s busiest inland port of entry and one of Sadc’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.

Zimborders Consortium chief executive, Mr Francois Diedrechsen, said they were expecting to complete all the civil works in the next two-and-a-half years.

“We expect to employ approximately 450 new full-time employees and currently, 185 are now employed, but this is ramping up as the works expand.

“The project achieved financial closure at the end of last year and thus has only been in full development since then. 

“The holiday season, Covid-19 restrictions and severe rains have slowed down progress but nonetheless, the project is on schedule,” he said.

Mr Diedrechsen said in terms of civil works, they had covered a lot of ground on the new maintenance building while other structures were at various stages of preliminary works.

These included foundations and service access roads among others.

At the new freight terminal, they had created bypass roads and various other parking lots and road works in the border area.

“Construction and development of all works both in port and out of the port is scheduled to be completed in 30 months from financial closure which was 26 November 2020.

“Among other works, we expect to build three new in-port terminals with warehouses and roads. Out of port works include constructing a new water reservoir, houses for Government workers deployed to the border, a new fire station and a new oxidation dam,” said Mr Diedrechsen.

He said they would also upgrade various roads and services outside the border to enhance the smooth flow of traffic and develop a new ICT system within the border.

The project is being implemented under a public-private partnership involving the Government and private players who are providing funding.

The concession will operate for 17-and-a-half years following the completion of the construction works.

Civil works are 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).

It is also envisaged that the volume of humans and cargo will increase five times when the project is completed.

An average of 200 000 travellers, 30 000 buses, 100 000 light vehicles, 40 000 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.

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