THE Beitbridge border modernisation project is going according to plan, with the contractor having opened the bus terminal for public use under phase two of the project.
Zim Borders Consortium says the contractor has escalated construction works in the final phase after completing the bus terminal, the busiest inland port in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are pleased to confirm that the test run for buses section was successful and the public can now enjoy the new experience,” said Mr Francois Diedrechsen, Zim Borders Consortium chief executive officer.
The massive US$300 million project has transformed the border town through employment creation.
“The operationalised sections has seen us increasing our employment numbers. This project has lasting impact to the broader community, even after the contract is long gone,” said Zim Borders general manager, Mr Nqobile Ncube.
Meanwhile, the shipping and forwarding sector has been charmed by the ongoing information communication technology (ICT) system upgrade, under the Beitbridge border modernisation programme.
The move to upgrade ICT infrastructure at the port of entry has excited players in the shipping and forwarding sector who are confident that a paperless system will reposition the border as a preferred port for commercial cargo.
“We are happy that implementers of border modernisation are also attending to ICTs infrastructure at the border. It used to be a nightmare to get commercial cargo cleared. We would spend the whole day trotting to and from the South African physically carrying papers for stamping. Now ZIMRA and South African counterparts are now scanning and emailing critical documents,” said a trucker.
“This is a step in the right direction. Apart from reducing human error, an updated ICT infrastructure cuts on waiting time for commercial cargo and makes everyone’s job a lot easier,” said a cross border.
The integrated border modernisation project has seen authorities procuring the latest technology linked to the national surveillance centre in Harare.
“Eventually, our boom gates at the commercial side will not be manned by a person, but will be installed with cameras that can identify vehicle particulars and its clearance status before automatically opening. Our plans include further improvement by setting a single window system which will prompt importers and exporters on requirements,” said Mr. Shami Moyo, ZIMRA ICT director.
The final phase of the Beitbridge modernisation is expected to be completed by June next year.