As cross-border road hauliers wait to hear from Zambia’s and Botswana’s transport authorities about when the completed Kazungula bridge across the Zambezi will open, another truck has slipped off the pontoon into the mighty river’s depths.
It’s the second rig that has rolled off a ferry at the important crossing which is still served by three pontoons while the bridge, already finished in September, sits unused in the background.
Last week a flatbed truck with baggaged cargo dipped into metres-deep water as it was pulling onto a pontoon.
Apparently this is an old issue for the ferries serving the crossing as the ramps intended to prevent trucks from rolling off don’t seem to be working properly anymore.
Earlier this week another truck, this time laden with steel girders, also found itself almost floundering.
In both instances, judging from the western curvature of the bridge, the incidents happened on Botswana’s side of the river.
The incidents have given rise to some cynical smirking among transporters, many of whom have commented that “only in Africa” will pontoons still be used when there’s a newly built bridge waiting to carry cargo across.
And in the absence of official confirmation about when the bridge will indeed come online, it remains anyone’s guess why there’s such a holdup to open the bridge.
One logistician said it was because the bridge would be managed as a One-Stop Border Post (OSPB) linkage.
The requisite OSBP facilities are not yet in place though, and customs staff must also be trained to fulfil this function.
Whatever the case may be, one wonders why they can’t open the bridge in the meantime.