Transport sector finding its wheels

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Windhoek - The Southern African region’s transport and logistics sector is slowly coming out of the blocks following a challenging seven months in which COVID-19 brought the wheels of commerce to a near standstill.

Walvis Bay Corridor Group CEO Mr Hipi Tjivikua, and Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat executive director Mr Lesley Mpofu this week both said the region’s transport and logistics sector was slowly stirring back to life.

The two executives, in a virtual meeting on the sector, advised governments to co-ordinate protocols related to the reopening of borders.

“The COVID-19 pandemic inflicted serious challenges on the region’s transport and logistics sector but we are slowly getting back to a normal situation.

“As the (Walvis Bay Corridor Group) we are responsible for co-ordinating and engaging different stakeholders worldwide on the movement of goods across the Southern African region. It has been challenging for truck drivers who had to endure certain times in isolation facilities that sometimes might not really be of the expected standard. Our plea to governments is to allow the truck drivers access to reasonable quarantine facilities,” Mr Tjivikua said.

He added that focus should be on harmonising modalities of reopening borders and facilitating commerce.

“It would be more challenging to have different conditions prevailing in different countries. For example, you want to be able to move across the borders on at the same pace.

“If you are crossing from Namibia to South Africa it is imperative that the border authorities are cognisant of the increase in traffic for the benefit of the many people moving across the borders.”

Mr Mpofu weighed in saying the governments of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa in particular should make it easier for truckers to move seamlessly across borders.

“Sometimes the period taken to clear trucks at the borders has been rather long but in the recent past we can slowly see a huge improvement, and,  this only points to a positive situation,” Mr Mpofu said.

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