Harare – Regional trade is set for a major overhaul with the imminent establishment of four dry ports to improve trade in and with landlocked SADC members.
The Southern Times Business can report that bilateral and multilateral talks involving Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe are at an advanced stage for establishment of dry ports.
Zimbabwe has designated Masvingo near South Africa, Bulawayo near Botswana, Makuti near Zambia, and Mutare near Mozambique as the country’s customs dry ports.
The customs dry ports are appointed inland facilities whereby commercial cargo may be consigned to pending final clearance and are mainly established to help land locked countries to facilitate and handle their cargo.
Zimbabwe’s presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba this week revealed that the visit to Harare by Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi was mainly to speed up arrangements for establishment of a dry port.
“President Nyusi was in Chimoio and decided to hop across to see his brother in Harare to converse on matters bilateral. We are working on establishing dry ports alongside Botswana and South Africa to relieve Beira, which is congested now,” Mr Charamba said.
“Remember Botswana and Zimbabwe are landlocked countries and the ideal really is to ensure they are not excluded from maritime trade. (Establishment of dry ports) increases the volumes that are carried on the corridors. It’s also a way of promoting trade relations within the Southern African Development Community through preferred gateways. The long term goal is to establish a cargo clearing one-stop facility at the dry ports for efficient customs clearance and border crossing.”
Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe already operating dry ports at Walvis Bay on the Atlantic Coast, thanks to the Namibian government.
The Walvis dry ports provide a gateway to Central and West African markets, and also connect the landlocked countries to Europe and the America through Namibia.