Trans Kalahari Corridor lines up projects for transformation

By Mpho Tebele

GABORONE – The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) has lined up a number of projects to be undertaken in the near future as it aims to be one of the efficient transport corridors in the region, it has emerged.

The corridor which is a tripartite trans-boundary between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana is a road network spanning approximately 1900 kilometres across the territories of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

It starts in the Gauteng Province in South Africa and continues through Rustenburg and Zeerust in the North-West Province, through Lobatse and Kanye in Botswana, the Mamuno and Trans Kalahari Border Posts, through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja in Namibia and right through to the Port of Walvis Bay. The Walvis Bay Port also houses Botswana’s Dry Port which became fully operational some two years back.

Executive Director of Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKC) Leslie Mpofu revealed at a seminar held in Gaborone recently that some of the projects to be undertaken include Development of Marketing and Communication strategy as well as a Corridor performance Monitoring system.

“We also intend to develop Wellness Centres and Truck Ports  in Namibia (Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Gobabis), in Botswana (Charleshill, Kang, Sekoma, Jwaneng, Lobatse,) and in South Africa ( Zeerust).

According to Mpofu, they also intend to harmonize road traffic laws along the corridor; as well as harmonising driver training/testing/licensing standard and vehicle testing standards.

TKC would also embark on implementation of the Cross Border Vehicle Overload Control System (CBVOCS), application of risk management techniques for selective inspection of goods and Collaborate with Southern African Customs Union (SACU) on the Preferred Trader Programme

“We also intend to embark on accreditation/registration of corridor users (OCAS AND RTMS) and review and implement the service charter between government agencies and stakeholders,” said Mpofu.

He said they would also ensure that there is enforcement of the legislation on the transportation of dangerous goods, One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Mmamuno, Road Transport Management System (RTMS).

“We are also moving towards the  implementation of an integrated bond guarantee arrangement, Harmonisation of Professional Driving Permits (PrDPs ), strengthening security of freight along the corridor to comply with international requirements; (Use of Electronic Logbooks to Improve Efficiency, Safety, Security in Commercial Bus & Truck Industries),”said Mpofu.

For his part, Namibia’s Logistic Hub project manager Clive Smith said their aim is to increase the utilization of the Walvis Bay Corridors via the Ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz to and from Southern Africa.

He said his office has developed a logistics master plan that will provide future of Namibia as logistics hub as well as a strategic location (gateway to SADC).

According to Smith, Namibia is the most attractive country looking at its access to sea level and urged member states  to work together to produce a robust Trade Facilitation Programme that seek to support effective trade facilitation and eventually lower trading costs.

“We are cognizant of the fact that transport operators and traders choose their routes based on performance of corridors, and these performance indicators are, the distance-related operating costs, travel time, predictability of transit and Safety and security as well as the ‘hospitability’ of the route. TKC is therefore critical in contributing trade links between the three Contracting Parties,” he said.

South Africa Director of Regional Corridors, Segodi Mogotsi said although the three countries each have a corridor to look after it is important for them to work together to promote deeper integration by harmonization of conflicting Regulations and Policies of the three countries in line with the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)

He said there is a need for integration of Trade, Transport, Logistics and Travel systems of the three counties with the objective of providing quality services at minimal costs, thereby increasing competitiveness of the SADC and SACU region

He revealed that his country’s Department of Transport (DoT) has developed a Draft Regional Corridor Development Strategy that seeks to better integrate the Country with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiatives, stimulating regional economic growth and enhancing mobility across the region.

“The strategy will guide the department in Its role in implementing the Regional Corridor Development Strategy and infrastructure Master Plan and enhanced participation in regional infrastructure investment; and improved trade facilitation and efficient transport in the corridors,” said Mogotsi.

He further revealed that South African Government intends to facilitate review of the SADC Protocol with specific reference to corridors.

“We also want to ensure that every corridor is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoA) that subscribes to the SADC Protocol and amend the SADC Protocol and customs legislation to legalise use of e-documents and e-signatures,” he said.

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