Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will be sealed off from tomorrow following a spate of coronavirus confirmations in the country’s second biggest city.
Although it’s not expected to have any effect on Kasumbalesa, the DRC’s primary copperbelt crossing into Zambia, trucks heading into Lubumbashi can expect to be stopped at the Kisanga truck park and customs area on the edge of town (*).
Depending on how long the lockdown lasts, transporters should prepare to be delayed, said Mike Fitzmaurice, chief executive of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta).
For a change no more news is forthcoming from the Chirundu border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Beitbridge.
According to Fitzmaurice, transport traffic on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe has spiked from around 600 trucks a day to about 1000.
For the most part the increase in cargo passing through Beitbridge stems from Botswana tightening its border control because of Covid-19.
“Transporters are avoiding Botswana almost altogether,” Fitzmaurice said.
He explained that coronavirus testing measures on the country’s Kazungula border into Zambia remained impeded by the slow processing of test results and the prospect of long quarantine periods for truck drivers testing positive for the virus.
Because of Botswana’s preventative measures, transporters are increasingly rerouting traffic via Beitbridge.
(*) In a late announcement this afternoon Fesarta said that the DRC's border with Zambia at Kipushi north-west of Kasumbalesa, the latter itself, as well as Lubumbashi and Likasi, "will be closed and under lockdown on Saturday and Sunday", June 20 and 21.
The association added: "Please note that the notice above only applies to passenger movements and trucks will still be allowed to cross the border in both directions."