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Botswana confirms only pre-cleared cargo on Trans Kalahari Corridor as of 01 May

Botswana confirms only pre-cleared cargo on Trans Kalahari Corridor as of 01 May

The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat announced on Friday morning, 14 April, that as of Monday 17 April, Botswana customs authorities will not accept and process any cargoes not pre-cleared. This is in response to a decision in principle to terminate consolidation of cargo on the Trans Kalahari Corridor.

Executive Director of the Secretariat, Mr Leslie Mpofu stated in a notice, dated 13 April but only released on 14 April, that it became clear that consolidated cargoes are not viable since it prevents an itemized cargo inspection, even if the goods are only in transit, like through Botswana.

However, later during Friday, the Secretariat informed the Economist that the Botswana customs authorities have reconsidered the practical implications of their hastily contrived ban on consolidated cargo, moving the implementation date to 01 May 2023, a public holiday in many countries in the Southern African Development Community.

In an earlier meeting between the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat and the customs authorities of Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, it was decided that all cargo admitted at all Trans Kalahari ports of entry, must be pre-cleared.

“Pre-clearance will eliminate all delays and minimize trade costs at port of entries,” according to the Secretariat.

The meeting also agreed that Customs Data Exchange and pre-population of transit declarations using the export declarations should be considered as the best alternative to consolidation.

The pre-clearance versus consolidated cargo debate started in 2017 when Botswana introduced the new Customs Management System. This system has done away with the consolidation of cargo facility which was allowed under the previous clearance system. This resulted in delays and the escalation of cost due to itemization of cargo by clearing agents.


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