Botswana’s Dry Port in Namibia is struggling to attract business as the Durban port still remains the favoured choice by importers.
Speaking during a tour of the port here, the Dry Port manager, Derrick Mokgale said they have been trying to lobby government to help divert investors from using the Durban port but rather use the Namibian one.
According to Mokgale they have proposed that government put a clause in their tendering process that will bond importers to utilise the Namibian port instead of the Durban one.
“The Durban port is more competitive than us because they have an advantage of the rail and most of their products there come from China hence why we have decided to provide another alternative route which will have access to Europe, Brazil, USA.
“Another challenge is the absence of a weigh bridge services due to lack of land. The weigh bridge could have given us a competitive edge,” he said. Briefing the media this week, Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) secretariat executive director Leslie Mpofu said Botswana is set to benefit from being part of the North-South smart corridor, which has been identified by a study conducted by the African Union.
A smart corridor is a corridor that has harmonised regulations pertaining to transport regulations thus providing efficiency and effectiveness. The corridor comes from Durban in South Africa through Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania.
Some of the benefits will entail access to simplified regulations, which will ensure trade runs smoothly between the countries as well as enhance diversification drive thus enhancing the
country’s competitive advantage.
“The findings of a study which was conducted by a consultancy engaged by the African Union has identified the North-South corridor to be ideal to pilot the smart corridor.
The findings have come up with a model which can be adopted by the corridor management groups to implement the smart corridor,” he said.
According to Mpofu, they also promote intra-regional and international trade as well as tourism. Mpofu also noted that through the Trans Kalahari Corridor, they intend to facilitate seamless movement of goods and people and integrate trade, transport, logistics and travel systems of the participating countries with the objective of providing quality services at minimal costs, thereby increasing competitiveness of the SADC and SACU region.
Currently Botswana is part of the 19,000km Trans Kalahari corridor, which runs from Walvis Bay in Namibia through the Kgalagadi highway in Botswana passing through Lobatse to Zeerust in South Africa.
The corridor is aimed at simplifying and harmonising the requirements and controls that govern the movement of goods and people with a view of reducing transportation costs.
Other projects in the pipeline include the development of the truck ports along the corridor in Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Gobabis, Charles Hill, Kang, Sekoma, Jwaneng, Lobatse and Zeerust.
According to Mpofu, the truck ports will be used as places that ensure the safety and wellness of truck drivers adding that they need to rest after every 100km.