Corridor development in southern Africa is on the up as countries in the region increasingly tune into the benefits.According to Chris van Tonder, general manager for Beira at the J&J Africa Group, rapid growth has been evident on the Mozambican corridors of Nacala and Maputo – in particular the Beira Corridor.
“We have been very fortunate this year with the volumes that have been moved through the Beira Corridor, and we have seen an increase in various commodities from both an import and export point of view,” he told Freight News. “It is evident that the Beira Corridor is a growth corridor but also a logistics and trade corridor as we have seen increased interest from clients across the world.
This corridor is also becoming more and more attractive due to its strategic location – being the closest link to landlocked Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”Van Tonder said the multimodal Port of Beira played an integral role in the ongoing growth on the corridor.
“There is also significant growth on the North-South Corridor out of Durban,” he said. While Africa faced unique challenges and opportunities, Van Tonder said issues like resource integration and a value-chain approach (as opposed to working in silos) were still stumbling blocks for corridor development across the continent.
“The poor involvement of the private sector in corridor management is also a concern. Then there are the operational challenges – such as the isolated corridor approaches we see, excessive control, and regulation which make it difficult to strike the correct balance in trade facilitation versus revenue collection, border controls, security and customs integration.”
According to Van Tonder, one of the most difficult challenges to overcome when it comes to corridors pertains to poor infrastructure and manpower, low staff availability, lack of office space, inconsistent and unreliable power outages and poor internet connectivity. In addition, systems downtime results in slow border crossings and congestion with poorly harmonised customs and border procedures.“Without a doubt, however, the continent offers endless opportunities.
And in terms of the Beira Corridor, we can already see it is becoming more attractive to large global and international companies.”He said corridors played an integral role in promoting intercontinental trade, as well as promoting regional trade and integration.“It is a vital part of the supply chain and inf luences the cost of doing business in an economy, as well as the overall costs of logistics. Ultimately corridors contribute positively to the GDP if one considers the macroeconomic factors of any given country.”
INSERT: "We have seen an increase in various commodities from both an import and export point of view on the Beira Corridor."– Chris van Tonder