GOVERNMENT is in the process of establishing a dry port in Marange area to decongest and make Forbes Border Post outside Mutare more efficient, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said.
The minister toured the eastern border city recently to meet various stakeholders involved in the establishment of the dry port facility.
He said government has identified a 45-hectare space to establish a dry port in Marange, adding the facility will make Forbes more efficient in facilitating trade.
"So, it's clear now that this border is operating from five different sites including a fuel storage facility away from the border due space constraints.
"It's creating constraints here and for the efficiency of this border; that's why we have located a place in Marange area, which will be a dry port.
"It's 45 hectares in terms of size and it will be developed into a dry port so that trucks come through here and go into that facility for clearance and processing onwards to other places of the country.
"This is how we want to redesign this border to become more efficient," said Ncube.
He said the Marange port was one of four dry ports that were currently being established in the country to ease congestion at border posts and improve clearing processes.
"The Forbes dry port in Marange zone is one of the four dry ports that we want to develop for decongestion purposes.
"We have one in Masvingo we are working on, Bulawayo and Makuti which will link Chirundu and Kariba," said the minister.
To improve efficiency at Forbes border post, the minister underscored the need for pre-clearance of cargo on both the Mozambican and Zimbabwean sides of the border.
"It is important that their systems come together. At the moment, there is pre-clearance on Zimbabwean side. We want to make sure there is pre-clearance on Mozambican side as this will make this border more efficient, "said Mthuli.
He said the dry port concept will enable citizens and business people within Zimbabwe and across borders from countries such as Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to come and buy goods at the dry port.
"There is no need to go to Beira or Johannesburg or elsewhere. It will create points that allow customers to buy from within Zimbabwe's borders by buying from bonded warehouse environment.
"We are working on it. It will be a bonded warehouse with a combination of old way of customs clearance, but you can still buy goods. So, we create export clearing zones out of the dry ports at the same time," said Mthuli.
He said the combination of a dry port and special export zone could help the country maximize on what is termed transit economy.
"You can have a dry port and special export zone that we can maximize on what we call transit economy. Being landlocked is not a curse but also provides an opportunity for development," he said.
The minister cited Kazakhstan as one landlocked country which has taken advantage of transit economy to rake in US$5 billion in terms of revenue per annum.
"You can be landlocked but smart and maximize on opportunity. That is what we are trying to do," said the treasury boss.