Almost 500 trucks north and south bound are using the Beitbridge Border daily since the completion of the first phase of the one-stop facility.

The border linking South Africa to the northern parts of the continent, through Zimbabwe, was built under a “build, operate and transfer” deal by South African-registered firm Zimborders – at a cost of $300 million (R14 billion).

In an interview with News24, Zimborders chief executive officer, Francois Diedrechsen, said the border is back to being the busiest in southern Africa.

We service, on average, around 750 trucks, both going into the continent and South Africa. There are no glitches anymore, as evidenced by the increased traffic clearance,” he said.

Last month, there was a jam that saw trucks queueing on the South African side, stretching for 10 kilometres because of logistical challenges.

READ | 10km queue at Beitbridge as drivers struggle with documents

Diedrechsen said the border is now the fastest in terms of clearing cargo, compared to other borders in the region on the north-south corridor route.

A report by Freight News last week, relying on Global Positioning System (GPS), said it takes at most four hours for a truck to move from Zimbabwe and twice that time to enter South Africa.

The report also says it takes 25 hours for trucks to enter Zambia from Botswana, through the Kazungula bridge

When the Kazungula bridge was commissioned, industry experts suggested it would lead to the decline of business for the Beitbridge route.

Under the 17-year deal, Zimborders expects to collect at least $1 billion before handing it over to Zimbabwe.

Tolling fees are:

•      Goods vehicles, such as rigid containers and trucks, pay $201 (R2 900);

•      Abnormal load vehicles carrying machinery are charged $344 (R4 965);

•      Heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, pay $115 (R1 660) for passage. 

he second phase of the border will be finished in May next year.

It will consist of a bus terminal for buses travelling from South Africa to Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

The third phase, due in December next year, will be for light vehicles.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was due to officially commission the border post on Wednesday.