CROSS BORDER TRUCK DRIVERS BLACKLIST ZIM ROUTES | Zimbabwe is likely to lose millions of dollars in potential revenue as cross-border truck drivers, particularly those in transit to other regional countries, have threatened to shun local routes in protest over the recently-introduced electronic cargo tracking system, which they say is too slow and costly.
The drivers met on the South African side of the Beitbridge Border Post on Wednesday, where they resolved to shun Zimbabwean routes and use the longer, but “stress-free” Botswana route unless the government reviews the new law.
A few weeks ago, the government through Statutory Instrument (SI) 113 of 2017, changed the management of transit cargo and introduced electronic tracking, customs seals and escorts from Beitbridge to any exit port to curb the smuggling of fuel and other supplies, which were dumped on the local market.
At least 10 000 foreign-registered trucks pass through Zimbabwe en-route to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and parts of Mozambique.
The new law demands that trucks should have a tracker or seals that should be surrendered at the exit point.
The truckers are also expected to pay $30 for the seals and a fine of $1 300 is demanded if that is tampered with.
“They do not have adequate seals, and decision-making has been centralised in Harare. There are a few escort vehicles resulting in trucks waiting for up to 10 days for the escorts,” one of the haulage truck owners said.
“The truckers complained about diversion of routes by Customs escorts, lack of a desk to deal with vehicles in transit and delays while trucks waited for seals,” a Zimbabwean representative of the truckers, identified as Mhlanga, said yesterday.
“The trucking companies said Zimbabwe will realise a sudden drop in vehicles in transit. This will affect our jobs,” he added.