TKCS successes ­despite Covid-19

Working smarter

05 October 2021 | Infrastructure

Leslie Mpofu; TKCS executive director; “One of the key successes is the piloting of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) on the TKC.”

Challenges of navigating a global pandemic, with countries implementing strict protocols at ports of entry, workplaces operating with reduced capacity, uncertainties and lockdowns, meant embracing new technologies and different approaches to work smarter.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC) is one of the corridor management institutes that has embraced change to ensure the smooth transit of goods and persons along the route.

Speakers at a recent two-day TKC consultative meeting alluded to the good progress that has been made by the TKC despite the pandemic.

In his remarks, executive director of the TKC Secretariat (TKCS), Leslie Mpofu, stated that the group has achieved a lot in trade facilitation even though certain challenges were initially experienced.

“These challenges include meetings being unable to materialise due to technological glitches, new regulations or Covid-19 protocols by the different countries that were not in harmony, the quarantining of drivers and high costs of Covid-19 tests among others.”

Despite these challenges, Mpofu said through combined efforts by stakeholders, many accomplishments were achieved.

“One of the key successes is the piloting of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) on the TKC.”

The CTMS is a system that monitors the movement of truck drivers to ensure they follow their route and avoid the spread of Covid-19.

The driver is given a cell phone that is used to monitor the driver's journey. This system is expected to be a game changer in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Another initiative in conjunction with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group on the Namibian side of the TKC is the free testing and vaccination of drivers.

“Mobile clinics are strategically placed along the route to assist drivers with Covid-19 rapid testing, Covid-19 vaccination or any other health needs the driver may have.”

This, he said, was necessary as drivers are always on the road and may not find time to go for these important consultations.



Positives

Reduction of time and expense at border posts, increased participants in visual stakeholder engagements, and harmonisation of some documents and policies are some of the other positives.

The current chairperson of the TKCMC, Segodi Mogotsi, who facilitated the first day of the meeting, emphasised the importance of cutting down the time spent on the road.

He was concerned that it took longer for movement of goods within the continent to reach their destination compared to goods that were coming in from overseas.

He said it was important to improve the efficiency of the corridor, yet acknowledged the progress the region is making in terms of road structures and technology systems.

Co-chair of the TKC Management Committee from Namibia, Dr Cedric Mwanota Limbo, said despite challenges, the TKCS now has its own office in Windhoek which will be commissioned soon.

“The TKC is an economic corridor and as such, it should enhance its competitive advantage by reducing the costs of doing business and transit time.”

He stated TKCS was on the right path and urged stakeholders to support initiatives by the secretariat.

The two-day stakeholder meeting was organised by TKCS at the request from the ministry of works and ­transport (Namibia) with the intention to meet stakeholders in South Africa and to discuss collaborations, challenges experienced on the corridor as well as possible solutions to make the TKC a quick and cost-effective corridor.