Truckers threaten to boycott Kasumbalesa and stop freight into DRC

Kasumbalesa border post
Kasumbalesa border post

FOUR main truckers trade associations have threatened to stop transporting freight into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if the security of drivers, their crew, vehicles and consignment is not assured.
Their concerns come in the wake of security tension at Kasumbalesa Border Post following the killing of two drivers within a week.
The Copperbelt Open Truckers Association (COTA), Federation of Hauliers (FedHaul), Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) and Truckers Association of Zambia (TAZ) are gravely concerned about insecurity.
The associations expressed their concerns at a meeting last Thursday with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications as well as the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, to discuss how the Zambian trucking industry can be competitive and create more jobs for Zambians.
COTA president Benson Tembo said the associations have requested Government to consider completely closing the Kasumbalesa Border Post.
Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga who regretted the killing of the two drivers at Kasumbalesa Border Post requested the Truckers Associations and their members to remain calm as Government is dealing with the matter at a high level using diplomatic channels.
On Friday, President Sata ordered security wings to ensure safety for all Zambians and foreigners at Kasumbalesa.
And the police say they are monitoring the situation at Kasumbalesa border post to ensure safety at one of the country’s busiest border posts.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Joyce Kasosa said calm has returned at Kasumbalesa after police reinforced security.
“The situation is calm we have reinforced security at the border.  We are going to continue monitoring the situation on the ground,” Ms Kasosa said.
Ms Kasosa said business activities by both Zambians and foreigners have resumed but police is alert for criminal activities.
Zambia Revenue Authority Kasumbalesa station manager Levy Simatimbe said the border is operational with about 300 trucks crossing into the DRC last Friday.
“There is a long queue of trucks from the border to Chililabombwe. We hope to have the same number of trucks cross into DRC today (yesterday),” he said.
Meanwhile, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya is concerned that the killings of truck drivers at Kasumbalesa border post will negatively affect trade between Zambia and the DRC and the region as a whole.
Mr Ngwenya said trade between Zambia and the DRC, which are both COMESA member states, has been affected considering that the DRC mainly depends on food supplies from Zambia.
He has urged the DRC and Zambia to urgently come up with a sustainable solution for the security concern.
He said Zambia’s exports into the DRC currently exceed a billion dollars annually, hence the need for the two governments to quickly find a lasting solution to strengthen trade between the two countries.
Mr Ngwenya said COMESA is on stand-by to see how it can intervene in the matter as Zambia and the DRC address the challenge.