Border Operations Assessments Carried out in Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and DRC
In September and October, SATH undertook Border Operations Assessments (BOA) at the Mamuno/Trans-Kalahari (Botswana/Namibia) and Kasumbalesa/Kasumbalesa (Zambia/ DRC) borders on the Trans Kalahari and Dar es Salaam Transport Corridors respectively. BOAs constitute the initial phase of SATH's Integrated Border Management (IBM) program: a program that seeks to support SADC in its efforts to reduce the high cost of transport (of goods) in the region.
At the Mamuno and Trans-Kalahari borders, the team established average crossing times for trucks and clearance processes. The documented crossing times will also be used as baseline measurements for another SATH activity, the Regional Single Window – Customs Connectivity Pilot. In addition to establishing crossing baselines, the BOA aims to identify areas of operation where improved coordination amongst border agencies would yield a more fluid border crossing experience for commercial and small-scale traders.
The volumes of traffic and the magnitude of trade, including informal trade at the Kasumbalesa borders, are much greater than those at Mamuno and Trans-Kalahari. To handle the volumes of traffic more efficiently, the Zambian Border Crossing Company was engaged through a Public Private Partnership with the Government of Zambia to design, build and operate the Kasumbulesa border complex in Zambia. The new facility and computerized traffic management system in Zambia has streamlined processes and vehicle movement, and reduced the time s pent by cargo trucks at the border.
However, considerable delays are still experienced at this border. About 75% of the 500 trucks monitored during the Kasumbulesa BOA took up to 3.5 hours to cross the Zambian border complex.
On the DRC side, traffic is currently limited to a single lane between the two border complexes meaning that traffic can only flow in one direction at a time. In addition, while the border facilities on the Zambian side are now open and monitored 24 hours a day, the border agencies responsible for clearing goods are only operational during their regular hours of 06:00 through 18:00 each day.
The combination of single lane traffic between border complexes and limited agency operating hours means that trucks entering leaving Zambia for DRC cross the border only during the first 6 hours of the current operating hours (06:00 to 12:00) while trucks enter Zambia only during the second 6 hour period (12:00 to 18:00). DRC plans to launch new complex facilities in October 2012 similar to the Zambia complex. This should alleviate part of the delays in vehicle movements by allowing bi-directional traffic.