Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
COMMERCIAL truck drivers from across the Sadc region have expressed excitement over the ongoing upgrade at the Beitbridge Border Post, which is being implemented by Government in partnership with the Zimborders Consortium.
In separate interviews truck drivers from different countries said they were looking forward to spending less time at the border under the new order.
Zimborders Consortium has so far spent US$65 million on pre-commencement works and the construction of roads, weigh-bridges, warehouses and upgrading ICT facilities.
The freight terminal, which falls under Phase One will be officially opened on 6 October and the Government commenced implementing a dry run last Thursday ahead of the official opening.
The modernisation initiative is being rolled out in three-phases, which include the commercial freight terminal (Phase One), buses and light motor vehicles, and pedestrian terminals under phases Two and Three respectively.
It is envisaged that the new commercial freight terminal will house departments of immigration, customs, the police and other border agencies.
The counters were set up in sequence so that the clients do not have to move from one building to the other.
“We are happy with what the Government of Zimbabwe has done in upgrading this facility,” said a truck driver, Mr Runesu Runesu.
“There was too much pollution here due to lack of paving and the inadequacy in infrastructure. In fact, previously, we were spending longer than necessary to pass through this port of entry.
“From what we are seeing here, things could get even better here.”
Another truck driver, Mr Adiseni Gengezha, said they were now spending a few hours at the border compared to the past when they used to spend between three to seven days to cross into either South Africa or Zimbabwe.
“We had gotten used to spending many days in the queue to complete the border formalities due to limited parking space here as a result of the construction works.
“However, the queues have been moving since Thursday morning when Zimbabwe started implementing the dry run on its new commercial freight terminal,” he said.
Echoing the same sentiments, Mr Tarcisio Chiutsi, said the introduction of the prepayments and pre-clearance system would address the turnaround time in terms of the completion of all the border formalities.