Cyclone Idai – Traffic Dwindles At Forbes

The volume of commercial cargo and revenue collected at Forbes Border Post which links the country with Mozambique plummeted in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai that left over 600 people dead in the two neighbouring countries, it has emerged. It is understood that daily revenue intake at the country’s eastern border post has reduced from RTGS$1 050 000 to RTGS$350 000.

Zimra’s head of communication Mr Francis Chimanda, confirmed the development yesterday.

He said things were gradually returning to normal at Forbes Border Post following the cyclone.

“Fortunately, there was no infrastructure damage at Forbes due to the tropical cyclone. The only issue experienced was that State warehouse’s floors were filled with water that affected some of the goods detained,” he said.

Under normal business, the average daily revenue collection at Forbes is $1 050 000 translating to an average monthly collection of about $30 000 000.

“In the period before the cyclone we were clearing a total of 180 trucks (imports) and 190 trucks (exports respectively. However, post the cyclone we are handling two trucks daily on imports and 25 on exports sections.

“In addition, the number of daily bills of entries at that port have declined from 230 daily to 62, which were registered between March 16 and 25. We hope the situation will get back to normalcy soon.”

Mr Chimanda said the border (Forbes) handled mostly commercial goods including agriculture produce like tea, sugar and minerals such as chrome and granite stone on the export side.

He said with regards to imports, they were handling mainly fuels, fabric, machinery and various merchandise.

He added that their stations were prepared for any seasonal increase in traffic during the Easter Holidays.

“You will also note that the quarterly target (revenue collection) will be surpassed and this will be in part due to RTGS exchange rates against the USD,” said Mr Chimanda.

Before the devastating cyclone that hit parts of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi there were growing calls by border agencies for the Government to urgently expand Forbes Border Post to be able to handle increased cargo coming in from Beira, Mozambique.

It is understood that the port of entry has limited space to handle cargo coming in from Zimbabwe’s eastern neighbour.

The facility also handles cargo bound for countries such as Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo among others, making it imperative to expand the infrastructure.

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