By Susan Tembo.
The Chirundu border post has become a 24-hour operational border with effect from the beginning of this month.
The move is one that the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport has been pushing for for years, with no success.
Chirundu is one of Zimbabwe’s key links of trade from South Africa to northern neighbour, Zambia and other countries in the north through the 24-hour Beitbridge Border Post. Volumes of trade through Chirundu have increased with increasing feeder traffic from Beira through Forbes.
While there was resistance to having Chirundu operate on a 24-hour basis, developments in the past days have forced a rethink.
There has been immense congestion along the Chirundu-Makuti highway, with an influx of trucks following the opening of the South African border to traffic. The border had been closed for nearly two months as the southern African country imposed measures to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Truck drivers were heard complaining about the que as they were taking as long as a week toodling their fingers before being cleared at the border. Trucks waiting to be attended to at the border post could reach the 25km peg from the border.
“Que haingaregi kukura nekuti Beitbridge border post riku operator 24-hours, now touya kuno tosticker,” said one of the truck drivers, who asked not to be named.
Before the 24-hour opening, Chirundu used to operate for 16 hours.
Nonetheless, due to pressure, ZRA and ZIMRA , recently held a meeting and declared that Chirundu border post would be operating 24/7 until further notice.
The general populace have, however, been asked to support this initiative in National interest.
Truck drivers have applauded the move as they expect not to wait too long on the que since they will now be served around the clock.
Beitbridge Border Post and Chirundu are considered to be among sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest ports of entry with hundreds of southward or northward commercial trucks passing through the two border posts everyday.
Susan Tembo is a freelance journalist (±260763672202/±263714514733)