Beira set to gain traffic from Durban
Mar 24, 2005
Zimbabwe is placing greater emphasis on its rail and road links with Mozambique, following threats of a blockade along the South African border near Beit Bridge, but there is a growing concern over disruptions caused by derailments along the Beira – Zimbabwe railway.
According to Zimbabwe media reports poor maintenance along the Beira railway has been responsible for at least three derailments in the past six weeks. Zimbabwe views Beira as the logical alternative to Durban, especially in the event of blockades.
Mozambique has also expressed its concern with the deterioration of the Beira – Zimbabwe road, which it says is being damaged by increasing numbers of heavy and often overloaded lorries.
South African trade unionists announced recently that they intend blockading the South African side of the border to protest what they say are human and worker rights violations by the Zimbabwe government. This follows the recent expulsion from Zimbabwe of Cosatu’s (Congress of South African Trade Unions) fact-finding mission.
Resulting from these threats Zimbabwe and Mozambique last week hurriedly brought into law a preferential free trade agreement that will eliminate a wide range of goods from tariffs otherwise applied and will further encourage the use of Mozambique’s ports at the expense of Durban.
The agreement excludes a number of sensitive goods including sugar, tobacco, motor vehicles, soft drinks and beer.
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