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Freight industry appeals to government over dysfunctional Maputo Corridor

A long queue of South African truck drivers waiting to get through the border post. Picture:Kim Ludbrook, The Star.

A long queue of South African truck drivers waiting to get through the border post. Picture:Kim Ludbrook, The Star.

Published Dec 2, 2021

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DURBAN - The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) and the Minerals Council South Africa have called upon government to take urgent steps to address severe congestion at the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post on the Maputo Corridor, which has allegedly cost the industry R1.3bn in revenue loss, this year alone.

The freight industry complained about the extremely long delays in border-crossing times, with waits of more than three days in recent weeks, which they said exacerbated a crisis that has been ongoing since the beginning of August 2021.

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Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of SAAFF said: “These delays are resulting in loss of confidence, a loss of business and they are threatening the stability and sustainability of trade, transport, employment and job creation in South Africa.”

She added that the queue of trucks between Komatipoort and Lebombo was frequently between 7km and 15km long.

“This has serious humanitarian consequences, as drivers sit in their trucks for hours at a time when temperatures are above 40ºC – without access to food, water or ablution facilities,” Maree said.

She said efficient corridors had a significant impact on the competitiveness of local business and regional economies because they provided a measure of predictability, reliability and efficiency central to trade and logistics supply chains – which was key to providing access to markets.

SAAFF and the Minerals Council outlined six ways forward, which included the urgent, intentional, focused and conciliatory bilateral engagements at the highest level of government to address the failure to address underlying tensions.

A 24-hour One-Stop Border Post, with round-the-clock operations.

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A 24-hour operation of traffic policing to be reinstated at the border precinct.

Port-bound transit cargo moving from South Africa directly to the harbour in Maputo cannot be delayed by general cargo exports.

Standard Operating Procedures for parking facilities on the N4/EN4 to be put in place, as the costs for use of the dry port at Komatipoort, commonly known as KM7, and the terminal at KM4 at Ressano Garcia, added significant costs to the supply chain, with little attendant value added for trucks using these facilities.

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The establishment of a Public-Private Partnership Corridor management institution is urgent. The contribution made by the now-defunct Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative was significant in facilitating increased trade on the Corridor.

Home Affairs had not responded by publishing deadline.

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