Preparatory work for launch of a Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) pilot project are an advanced stage. The CTMS is an initiative of the tripartite regional blocs; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) on trade and transport facilitation.
Piloting of this project is planned for sections of the North-South (NS) and Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi (WBNL) Corridors, (which transit Zambia to the Kasumbalesa Border with DR Congo). Initial focus is on Zambia, a well land-linked State with eight neighbouring countries.
To prepare the country for the project, a CTMS virtual workshop was conducted for stakeholders, incorporating public and private transport operators and their associations, in August this year. The meeting came up with procedures for operators, drivers/crew members and officials performing compliance validation at border posts and other roadside check points.
Since then, Zambia has now provided coordinates for waypoints, among them, COVID-19 test and isolation for transport crews in various provinces in the pilot corridor: Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka, Southern and Western and North-Western provinces. Operators along these routes are expected to register a trips on the CTMS which has been mapped to enable operators to follow. Two companies in Zambia have started the process of registering their fleet and drivers in preparation for the launch.
Zambia has also commenced the procurement procurement of the hand-held devices to be deployed at the roadside for the CTMS Pilot. The devices will be available from 9 October to allow for software installation and training of officials prior to the launch of the Pilot. In addition, Zambia has designated Covid-19 testing centres where transport operators and their drivers can access these services country-wide before the commencement of their cross-border trips.
To publicize the initiative, COMESA Secretariat in collaboration with the Cities and Infrastructure for Growth in Zambia (CIGZ) funded by UKAid has developed publicity kit to raise awareness especially on the Tripartite Trade and Transport Facilitation Guidelines aimed at fast-tracking clearance of essential goods and services.
The initial focus will be on the Chirundu One Stop Border Post (OSBP) and later roll it out to other borders using a multimedia approach encompassing the community radio, television and social media. So far, a live television programme on the Guidelines and CTMS whereby transport experts from the COMESA Secretariat were featured featured on the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation.
An Inter-Agency Technical Coordination Committee (IATCC) is being set up for the Chirundu OSBP to come up with recommendations on how to address operational challenges at the border during the COVID-19 pandemic and after.