Cost of COVID-19 tests, shortage of port health officials crippling cross border transport companies

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The owners of cross border transport companies say they have to dig deep into their pockets to pay for COVID-19 tests for their employees.

They blame this on a lack of health officials at ports of entry since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year. They say this also causes delays at some borders when transporting goods to neighbouring countries and the continent.

Ferry goods trucks from SA to other African countries form long queues at border posts. Most of the companies in the North West use borders such as Ramatlabama and Skilpardhek to transport their goods into neighbouring countries. However, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, cross border transport has been severely affected. With trucks diverted from Skilpadhek to Ramatlabama Port of Entry due to the unavailability of port health officials, some truck drivers have to wait for some time to be cleared.

Managing Director of Loubser Bulk Services in the North West, Dirkie Loubser, says, shortage of port health officials has crippled his businesses. “The cost of COVID-19 testing costing our company over R600 000 –  losing a turnover of R300 million a month. That is only our company and other several companies are talking the same numbers. So we cannot get a solution to this. We have to look at options, close up our business or relocate it from the North West and start doing other roots that are not involving borders.”