In a move designed to enhance efficient and effective trade facilitation, Forbes Border post opened a 24-hour facility on 15 January 2024. The development has come at a time when congestion had been experienced between the Forbes and Machipanda Border Post and will therefore aid in increasing traffic flow and de-congesting the border.

Mr Batsirayi Chadzingwa, the ZIMRA Commissioner Customs and Excise expressed satisfaction on ZIMRA’s is preparedness to operate the 24hour facility.

“As ZIMRA we are ready to operate 24hours at this border as this is not the first time to have a border running 24hours. Our staff members are ready to quick-start the project. Yes, we have some constraints in terms of resources, but we can do with what we have to ensure that we deliver on this mandate. We also need to look at the benefit of having a 24-hour border post as it allows the continuous movement of trucks. Over the past few years, we have heard reports of travellers queuing for almost 13km waiting on either side of the border to be cleared when we were closing at 10pm, ” he said.

The new system has aligned the process of physical verifications of goods cleared on Bills of Entry to become a 24-hour operation. The border operates 24 hours per day, on three (3) shifts working arrangement compared to the previous single 14 hour shift per day. The new arrangement has added 10 more hours thereby lengthening effective business working time to 24 hours per day. Trucks continue moving as they are cleared non-stop. All serving officers from different government departments operate around the clock now, including clearing agents.

Commenting on the facility, Regional Immigration Officer Mr Richard Tambandini revealed that everything was in place for the system to succeed.

“Our system is in place and no challenges were encountered. We recorded 22 entries into the country and 83 exits from 10pm. We expect volumes to increase with time as people become accustomed to the new development.” he said.

Traditionally, the physical movement of goods across the border has been done between 6am to 10pm, this way lesser number of trucks crossed the border compared to the number relating to Bills of Entry documents processed online in Asycuda per day and it always resulted in congestion. The two countries will reap the benefit from this facility which will increase volume of trade, productivity and capital inflow.  The border serves almost half of the SADC region and is clearing about 550 haulage trucks every day.