Excessive delays from Covid-19 testing on one of South Africa’s main borders into Botswana has forced transporters heading towards the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) to make use of the Kopfontein-Tlokweng border further north.
This comes after testing measures applied at the Skilpadshek border west of Zeerust and south of the aforementioned crossing affected traffic at the most direct access point for the TKC, Namibia’s main supply-chain artery with South Africa.
Mike Fitzmaurice, chief executive of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta), said it was all because of testing procedures.
“Botswana is clamping down on the virus. You have to get tested and have to wait for the results.”
With the exception of relatively free-flowing traffic at Martin’s Drift, the Botswana crossing west of Lephalale (Ellisras), all other border posts into the landlocked country are affected by the country’s rigid testing regimes.
The relative quiet experienced at Martin’s Drift, Fitzmaurice said, was probably because there was not much going up north at Kazangula on the border of Botswana and Zambia, mainly as a consequence of the latter, like the former, throwing the proverbial book at long-distance drivers.
Zambia’s crossing into Namibia west of Kazangula on the Caprivi panhandle, like Kazangula, was experiencing delays because of Covid-19 testing, Fitzmaurice added.
Elsewhere in the Sub-Saharan region, faster processing of truck traffic has returned to Chirundu, the problematic border crossing between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
It’s a choke point blocked up by backlogs both south and north of the border. Fitzmaurice said Covid-19 testing at Chirundu amounted to tracking and tracing, meaning drivers didn’t have to wait for their results.
As a result cargo was crossing the border with relative ease pushing volumes way up, Fitzmaurice said.
Even Kasumbalesa, the notoriously difficult crossing between Zambia’s Copper Belt province and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Haut-Katanga province, was calm with clearing processing going well despite a Covid-19 lockdown period in the DRC over the weekend.