CIVIL works on Phase 2 of the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project have begun.
Zimborders Consortium in partnership with the Government are upgrading Sadc’s busiest inland port of entry at a cost of US$300 million under 17-and-a-half-years Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession.
The works are being carried out in three phases, which include the freight terminal (Phase 1) the buses terminal (Phase 2) and the light vehicles terminal (Phase 3).
Zimborders Consortium chief executive officer Mr Francois Diedrechsen said they have moved to Phase 2 after successfully completing the new freight terminal, which opened to traffic last month.
“We are now working on the second phase of the project, which is the buses terminal and that is fully underway,” said Mr Diedrechsen.
“This phase is scheduled for completion by mid-May 2022 and from there we will move to Phase 3, which is the construction of the light vehicles terminal. Our plan is to start civil works there in April next year and we are targeting to complete it by November 2022. The three terminals are phased as such because the border must remain operational while construction continues.”
He said the freight terminal was now operating smoothly with transit times significantly lower than Kazungula and better than it has been in the past decades.
Mr Diedrechsen added that the volumes of commercial trucks through Beitbridge have also picked up over the past few weeks as transporters have returned to this route given the much-improved transit times.
They were now clearing more than 900 trucks daily compared to 750 in September and early October.
“In addition to the three phases within the border, we are carrying out some out-of-port infrastructure and these are at varying stages of completion,” said Mr Diedrechsen.
Some of the out-of-port works include construction of 264 houses for border workers, an animal quarantine facility, fire station, sewer oxidation dam, upgrading water infrastructure in the town, and a new water reservoir tank, among others.
He said the co-operation between Zimborders and various Government agencies at the border was improving each day in line with the envisaged objectives of the concession.
Prior to the latest move, the border was handling 1 200 commercial trucks, 3 500 light vehicles, 15 000 travellers and 120 buses daily and it is estimated that upon completion of the current works, the facility will take up to fivefold the current volumes.