Single border facility for SA, Mozambique
PLANS to create a one-stop border post between SA and Mozambique will advance with the opening of a single border post dedicated to the bus and taxi industry in the next few weeks.
Brenda Horne, CEO of the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI), said on Friday that the building of the single border facility for the passenger transport industry was now complete and was due to open imminently. The facility will allow passengers to be processed by South African and Mozambique authorities at the same time, using a common system, saving time and costs.
The opening follows the successful opening of a similar facility for the logistics industry earlier this year.
Ms Horne said that a recent informal survey, using satellite- tracking devices on trucks, showed that drivers from SA were able to cross into Mozambique, drive to the Port of Maputo, unload and return to the border in a little more than five hours.
"This is a huge improvement on the 10 hours it used to take and has gone a long way to clearing up the congestion at the Lebombo border post. Once the bus and taxi facility is open, the main border post will just have to deal with normal road and tourist traffic," she said.
This is another of the successes of the MCLI, a public-private initiative that has made remarkable strides in improving both transport and logistics links between Gauteng and Mpumalanga to the Port of Maputo in Mozambique.
Ms Horne said that, among other initiatives, the MCLI planned to increase the capacity of the Port of Maputo in the next 15 years from the 10-million tons likely to be transported this year to 48-million tons.
The corridor is increasingly being used by South African businesses to ship goods through the Port of Maputo and is being held up as a prime example of how infrastructure can be efficiently used to the benefit of the entire region. Regional economic development was identified in Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel's New Growth Path as one of the key drivers in creating 5- million jobs and raising economic growth in SA over the next decade.
The deputy director-general in the Department of Transport overseeing the development of freight corridors, Mawethu Vilana, said the development of the north-south corridor, which will link seven countries in southern and eastern Africa, would be the next area of focus. "This follows President Jacob Zuma's signing of an agreement in Kampala earlier this year committing the various countries involved to the development of the corridor."
Ms Horne said various donor agencies, including the World Bank, had expressed interest in investing in the north-south corridor. However, she admits there are challenges.
"It has been hard work to attain the successes we have on the Maputo corridor, and that just involved two countries.
"The north-south one involves seven countries, which will no doubt increase the complexities of managing such a project," Ms Horne said.
However, the MCLI's success has been recognised, with Ms Horne appointed last week as the founding president of a new body that seeks to co-ordinate the development of numerous corridors across the subcontinent.
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