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Beitbridge Chaos and What is Being Done

Bernita Marais

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With several deaths recorded at the Beitbridge border post, transport and freight forwarding industries have called for urgent intervention from the government.

With the COVID-19 regulations and restrictions that have been introduced at the beginning of December severely compromising the flow of traffic through both sides of the border as there is only one testing station with a single entry and exit point, creating a massive bottleneck that stretched from Musina in Limpopo on the South African side to the border post, and for more than 20km on the Zimbabwe side. This congestion aggravated by the annual traffic increase over the festive period had already severely impacted South Africa with lost revenue. During the first three weeks of December, the cost of these delays at Beitbridge was almost R88m per week; with queueing time delays for trucks amounting to R609m per week, this is a total loss of R2,092,860,000 Mike Fitsmaurice – CEO of the Federation Eastern and Southern Africa Road Transport Associations said.

Dr. Juanita Maree CEO for SA Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) said drivers that were queuing ran out of food and had no water for drinking or washing their hands and there were no toilet facilities available while criminals are looting and stealing from the trucks with drivers giving up hope of getting home to be with their families all while sitting in the unbearable heat of more than 40°C.

Key players in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as well as The Federation of Eastern and Southern Road Transport Associations (FESARTA) and the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), have called on government for a public-private partnership (PPP) to prevent future disasters like the chaos at the Beitbridge border post on the Zimbabwe border.

Maree sees this agreement is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the income costs per day. Municipalities, government agencies and departments, as well as the private sector on both sides of the border, need to collaborate to create capacity and efficiencies to ensure that there are no bottlenecks at the border so that much needed economic growth can take place and trade and businesses are able to flourish. The situation faced is having a huge impact on supply-chains throughout Africa as much-needed goods – including essential items – are simply not reaching their destinations. It has become clear that there is no quick solution but if government is willing to partner with the private sector the smooth flow of goods and people across the border could be restored, preventing a humanitarian disaster and an economic collapse within the region.

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Logistics

Logistics Going Green

Bernita Marais

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A logistics start-up has launched eco-friendly packaging that allows online retailers to minimize their impact on the environment with last-mile deliveries. The new packaging will offer the same quality, durability, and security everyone has come to expect with an added benefit of leaving minimal impact on the environment.

In South Africa alone, billions of plastic bags are discarded every year. Clinging to trees, spreading across fences, and filling up gutters. Sadly, the logistics industry also contributes to this single-use plastic wastefulness.

Many single-use plastic items are only used for a few minutes and outlive their users for hundreds of years. Being industry disruptors within the logistics field, the logistics start-up has the privilege to address this pressing concern and pilot their new sustainable paper packaging range, which includes mailing bags, envelopes and packaging tape ensuring tough tamperproof and trusted products.

There is no denying it anymore, single-use plastic is not sustainable. By adding this paper packaging option to last-mile delivery every fulfilment strategy can be environmentally sustainable and change the logistics industry altogether.

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Logistics

Abu Qir Port Project Contract Awarded to DEME

SCN Africa

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DEME, the dredging, offshore, environmental, and infrastructure service specialists, announced that at the end of last year it secured a large dredging contract for the Abu Qir port project in Egypt.

Described as the largest ever dredging and land reclamation contract in history, the project includes the reclamation of 1 000ha of new land, the deepening of the port’s approach channel to 23m and the dredging of a turning basin to 22m. More than 150-million cubic metres will be dredged.

This ambitious megaproject creates land for the expansion and further development of Abu Qir, which boasts an ancient history and is slated to become a bustling economic hub, supplementing nearby Alexandria, in Egypt.

DEME will deploy the world’s most powerful CSD (Cutter Suction Dredger) ‘Spartacus’ on the project.

The project’s preparation has already started, with the main works set to commence in early 2021. The project is set for completion in 2023.

“We are very proud to have secured our largest ever dredging and land reclamation contract to date, and to support the Arab Republic of Egypt in its ambitions to develop a world-class project,” says DEME CEO Luc Vandenbulcke.

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Logistics

Convergence Partners acquire CTrack

SCN Africa

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Technology investor Convergence Partners has entered into an agreement with Inseego to acquire 100% of Ctrack’s operations in Africa and the Middle East.

The transaction will be the maiden investment for its third fund, the Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF).

Ctrack is a telematics software-as-a-service digital infrastructure platform, providing fleet management, insurance and weather telematics solutions, as well as asset tracking products, to its subscribers in Africa and the Middle East.

Convergence Partners says the business’s Internet-of-Things (IoT) and data analytics capabilities are a key component of an emerging sector in Africa and the company is a good fit with CPDIF’s strategy of identifying high-growth market players that build digital infrastructure on the continent.

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