11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Transport Barriers Hamper Trade

sadcWindhoek: Namibia has to eliminate major trade barriers many of which are rules and regulations, if it is to become the ‘regional transport and transit hub’ by 2025.

Singled out are trade barriers in the transport sector and their current serious implications on the efficiency of Namibia’s Trans-Kalahari Corridor and Tanzania’s Dar Corridor.

A vehicle from Namibia delivering cargo to Zambia, cannot pick up a load in Zambia for transportation to Tanzania unless this route passes through Namibia, points out the Southern Africa Trade Hub, a USAID ‘technical assistance’ to Southern African Development Community (SADC) governments, in its May newsletter.

“Such practices have resulted in a high number of trucks returning to their point of origin empty. Naturally, this represents an additional cost to transport operators which is passed on to the operator’s clients and ultimately the final consumers,” said Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH).

The Trans-Kalahari Corridor from Namibia and Dar Corridor in Tanzania connect with Zambia through the Trans-Caprivi Corridor that also connects Namibia with Zimbabwe and the DRC.

Trans Kalahari Corridor covers over 1,900 kilometres and connects the port of Walvis Bay to Gauteng in South Africa via Botswana. The Dar Corridor or Dar Es Salaam Corridor, again of about 1,900 kilometres, connects Tanzania with Malawi, Zambia and the DRC.

In addition the Trans-Kalahari Corridor is complemented by the Maputo Corridor on the east coast of Africa, thus forming a transport corridor over the entire breadth of southern Africa.

SATH had a meeting with the Namibian Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Samuel Ankama last month [April] to assess selected aspects of Namibia’s road transport legislation, regulations, policy and environment.

The meeting included one with industry players and regulatory authorities with oversight on road transport issues. It looked at assisting with “creating a more business friendly environment in implementation of pilot regulatory impact assessments. This type of support is an essential element of unilateral regulatory reform.”

SATH described the meeting as successful saying involvement at the highest levels “is a key element in securing regulatory reform and this interface certainly represents a positive step.”

The assessment looked at identifying problems to be addressed, presenting the range of policy options to address identified constraints, analysing these options to understand the impact of the different available policies on various stakeholder groups, and recommending the best available option on the basis of the analysis.

Namibia’s involvement, says SATH, “sends a positive signal to other SADC member states on the benefits of employing empirically based decision-making tools and of regulatory reform generally”.

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