Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The volume of haulage trucks transporting commercial cargo through Beitbridge Border Post has been increasing in the last three days as more lorry drivers now prefer to transit through Zimbabwe to avoid a number of stringent lockdown regimes in most countries.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been opened under the lockdown stage two, which is primed to facilitate regional and international trade.
Many countries bordering with Zimbabwe have closed their borders to non-essential human traffic and are implementing numerous lockdowns, which come with strict movement of vehicles both private and commercial.
As a result, truckers and importers north of the Zambezi River now prefer the Zimbabwe route, which is shorter and there are notable economic activities.
Most countries using Zimbabwe as a transit trade route include; Malawi, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique and Democratic People’s Republic of Congo. Long queues have become common especially on south bound traffic, with haulage lorries filling most roads in the CBD.
A border official who preferred not to be named said the increase in commercial cargo movement had seen authorities in Zimbabwe and South Africa tightening Covid-19 screening and testing of truck drivers.
“The testing process is cumbersome and hence you realise the movement of trucks have been slowed down.
“The trucks are being cleared in batches into either country and you will also note that we are having more trucks plying the Zimbabwe route following the closure of many borders in the region,” said the official.
It is understood that under normal circumstances 600 haulage trucks use the border with 300 going either sides of the border.
Another border source said they were now clearing an average of 900 commercial lorries per day.
By end of day yesterday there were many south bound trucks passing through the town.
Official comment was not readily available from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority yesterday.
An estimated 100 000 trucks pass through Beitbridge Border Post annually in transit to other Sadc countries.