Traders urged to utilise Beira Corridor

HARARE - Zimbabwean exporting and importing companies have been urged to utilise the Beira Corridor, a move that can reduce their transport costs by at least 30 percent.

Mozambican port authority firm Cornelder, which plans to invest over $70 billion into the port in the next 15 years, said using longer routes was costing Zimbabwean firms.

“Zimbabwe is losing a lot of money by using the longer route to Durban instead of Beira which is 559km away from Harare. There is always a cost per kilometre,” said Cornelder’s marketing director Felix Machadu at a stakeholders’ workshop last week.

He said the Beira port’s infrastructure, security and connectivity systems were currently being developed.

Zimbabwe’s Transport ministry principal research officer Caesar Kureva said the port remains a focal point in regional development initiatives.

“…the corridor is critical to the region’s economic and political objectives. This is particularly so given that almost half of the Sadc member states are landlocked and require efficient regional links with access to the sea,” said Kureva.

He added that the region’s trade and competitiveness were particularly affected by transport costs.

“Although road (transport)maybe highly accessible in smaller volumes as compared to rail, movement of goods by road poses a threat to the sustainability of infrastructure through its continued use.”

“It therefore becomes cost effective to a transport user if goods are transported by rail,” he said.

He, however, noted that the railway link between Harare and Beira has deteriorated over the years due to lack of track maintenance, poor locomotives and inadequate rolling stock among other challenges.

In terms of cargo, Zimbabwe last year exported 300 813 tonnes of goods to Mozambique while it imported 198 654 tonnes via the Beira route.

“With these statistics, the corridor has been important for trade facilitation. Government is currently in the process of recapitalising the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to improve on efficiencies,” said Kureva.

Speaking at the same occasion, Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe chief executive Joseph Musariri said there was need to improve communication which has been the major setback in the utilisation of the port by local firms.

The Beira Corridor is being used by close to 100 trucks daily compared to 600 trucks before the turn of the new millennium.

Currently, Malawi leads the pack while countries as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo are also utilising the port.

The Beira Corridor is one of southern Africa’s main transport routes. It has a road and rail network linking large parts of Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the port of Beira on the Indian Ocean.

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