The temporary halt of Transnet’s rail service to the Maputo port in Mozambique since September 2019 has resulted in a 30% increase in trucks going through the Lebombo Border Post and is causing a huge backlog of truck traffic between the Komati Load Control Centre and the border post.
According to Trans African Concessions (TRAC), they have received numerous complaints and have been repeatedly questioned about the truck queues.
“Road users, local landowners and businesses have approached TRAC about the problem as the excessive truck traffic causes queues of up to 7kms long. These queues obstruct traffic flow and create safety hazards. Standing trucks also block farm and business entrances, creating major frustration for the local community,” says a statement from TRAC.
Yeah sure. But what the heck are the trucks supposed to do about that? They have been forced into this problem situation which FleetWatch is 100% sure they hate. Total waste of time and money and total discomfort sitting in a 7kms queue in that heat. So there’s a problem but where’s the solution? In fact, TRAC says it too is not immune to the problem with one of its own trucks recently taking over 54 hours to be cleared at the border.
In a bid to understand the matter, TRAC recently met with Lebombo Border Post management and other stakeholders who confirmed that the truck traffic is simply too excessive to be adequately accommodated at the Lebombo Border. Clearing lanes and human resources urgently need to be improved. Although some measures have been implemented to alleviate the problem, they have not been as effective as expected.
TRAC has also approached SANRAL – via the Department of Transport – to assist as it is expected to get worse over the festive season when traffic volumes to the border post are traditionally very high.
TRAC believes the backlogs will decrease if the clearing of trucks at the border post improves. It also feels that an expansion is overdue at the Komati Load Control Centre, which is managed by TRAC and owned by SANRAL.
“This should include the expansion of the facility through the addition of a second lay-bye and improvements to the access road.” TRAC says it offered to assist with a project of this nature a few years ago but this was declined.
To alleviate some of the frustration, TRAC has agreed to erect a four-way stop at the Komatipoort/Sasol Garage Intersection so as to improve vehicle movement across the intersection. Until a solution is found, TRAC has urged for patience from road users and to take care when driving on this section of the route.
“Although we fully understand that the current status quo causes frustration for all affected parties, we appeal to all to respect road regulations and signage to avoid further complications,” it asks.
Can FleetWatch also put in a request to Transnet. Until you get your rail service running again, can you perhaps drop off a couple of cases of ice-cold water for the truck drivers who have to sit in the baking sun waiting and waiting? Thanks hey.