ZAMBIAN importers and exporters should heed the advice by Mozambican Ambassador to Zambia Jeronimo Chivavi to use the port of Beira for ease of transport of goods across the two countries.
Mr Jeronimo said Beira is secure as there are no thefts of cargo and is the shortest route to the sea.The advice by ambassador Jeronimo is timely as Zambia is deepening economic diplomacy and people in business should take advantage of every opportunity that beckons.
Zambia has traditionally used the ports in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Durban, South Africa and Walvis Bay in Namibia for exporting and importation of goods.
Yet, in terms of distance, the port in Beira is shorter and will make business sense for exporting and importation of goods from overseas, especially from Asia.
Beira is 1,300 kilometres from the Chanida border post in Katete and 1,900 kilometres from the capital city, Lusaka.
Using the Beira port will also spur trade between Zambia and Mozambique.
The volume of Zambia’s trade with Mozambique is low, yet these neighbouring countries have enjoyed bilateral relations for over 40 years.
Zambian traders should take advantage of Beira, the fourth largest city in Mozambique which lies in the central region of the country in Sofala Province where the Pungwe River meets the Indian Ocean.
Trade should become an integral part of Zambia’s economy and a significant tool for economic modernisation.
The appeal by the Mozambican for the utilisation of Beira’s port facilities ties in well with Government’s commitment to facilitating trade and industrialisation as part of the diversification of the economy.
Using the shortest route to the port in Beira will have several benefits because goods coming into the country will be cheaper as import costs (transport) will go down dramatically, by 40 percent, as some experts believe.
Much as Zambian businesses have been conditioned to using ports in Dar es Salam and Durban, it is expensive to import fuel, fertiliser, vehicles and other raw materials and consumables.
For companies and individuals who will be exporting via Beira, they will be exporting more as it will be easy and they will be selling more, meaning more money in their pockets, for their families and the economy By utilising the Beira facilities in Beira, there will be a lot of spin-off economic activities along the chain.
The tourism and hospitality sector will be one of the major beneficiaries as hotels, lodges and restaurants will be booming.
The transport sector such as couriers, clearing and forwarding, logistic companies, regulators, clearing agents, will benefit in terms of moving goods.
With the coming Beira Corridor Zambia conference scheduled for September 20 and 21, in Lusaka, exporters and importers have an opportunity to get first-hand information and begin to negotiate for rebates where necessary.
Besides the conference, we urge Beira Corridor and Cornelder de Mocambique management to also organise a learning trip to Beira to enable Zambian traders to go and see for themselves what is available on the ground.
Government should facilitate trade between the two countries by putting up decent structures at Chanida border post as well as upgrading the road from Katete to the border.
Pursuing trade with neighbours will be in sync with Government’s vision of Zambia becoming a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030.
Source: Zambia Daily Mail Limited