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Pre-training on new border traffic flow gathers momentum

by Staff Reporter
26 Sep 2021 at 10:12hrs | Views
The training of border agencies at Beitbridge Border Post has gathered moment as the Government prepares to open the newly built commercial freight terminal at Sadc's busiest inland port of entry.

The border post is being upgraded through a US$300 million concession between the Zimborders Consortium and the government of Zimbabwe. The project is being rolled out in three phases including the freight terminal, Information and Communications Technology ( ICT) facilities, roads (phase 1), the buses and light motor vehicles terminals (phase 2), and the offsite works including the upgrading of water and sanitation facilities in Beitbridge town. The last phase also includes the construction of 264 housing units for border agencies and all the civil works are set for completion in the next year.

A total of US$65 million has been spent on Phase 1, where a dry run (troubleshooting) is underway. Zimborders Consortium Chief Executive Officer, Mr Fran├žois Diedrechsen said they were right on schedule to meet the set timelines.

"The border agencies are gradually moving into the new commercial freight terminal and are we are conducting more real-time training and processes ahead of the scheduled official opening on October 6. We are glad to note that the responses from border agencies and transporters have been very positive to date. They are very happy with the upgrade and are looking forward to an improved service as congestion the last few months has been very frustrating for them".

The assistant regional immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube said traffic separation was a key goal considering that the service will now be sector-based.

"The decanting process is still in progress and when concluded, we should experience a significant increase in freight traffic being handled through the Border. Needless to say, the automation process is meant to severely cut down on the human interface which has been largely faulted for delays and once fully automated the results should be available for all to see".

He said the human resources, commitment, and efficiency-based mindset on all border-based personnel is going to be very critical in delivering service that matches the world-class infrastructure.

"In that regard, process flow training and simulations are taking place and the end result should be service personnel that is keyed and geared to ensure prompt, efficient, and professional service," added Mr Ncube.

He said the modernisation of the port of entry is meant to curb and lockout the grey area operators and that the electronic access should see only authorised and correctly deployed personnel accessing and servicing the Border.

The Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) chairman, Mr Joseph Musariri, said they were anticipating reduced turn-around time for commercial traffic.

"We are confident that the upgraded border will create a more conducive working atmosphere for both officers and clearing agents. In addition, the promised automated systems should make operations seamless," said Mr Musariri.

The Transport Operators Association of Zimbabwe (TOAZ) Chairman Mr Albert Bere said recently that they were confident that the Border Efficiency Management Systems (BEMS) will soon improve upon completion of the modernization works. He said previously their members were encountering many challenges including cargo movement delays in the previous set up at the border.

Source - Sunday News