Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Joram Gumbo who toured the proposed site with a team of civil aviation experts yesterday, said the project will be undertaken at an estimated cost of $100 million.
He also said they had acquired locomotives and coaches from South Africa, which will be delivered in two weeks’ time, as part of efforts to revive the ailing National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
“This is part of enhancing national development and unpacking opportunities in tourism, transport and logistics sectors.
“I have brought a team of experts here and we have agreed on a site which is located 15km outside Beitbridge town.
“We regard Beitbridge as a very important entry point in Zimbabwe. In actual fact it is the busiest port south of the Sahara and we want to make sure it is transformed to become an economic hub for both cargo and human traffic in the region,” said Dr Gumbo.
“This project we are visiting here today, is very important considering that very soon we will be rolling out the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept between Zimbabwe and South Africa at Beitbridge border post.”
He said Government was considering constructing the Beitbridge Airport under the build operate and transfer concept.
The Minister said they would also roll out similar initiatives in Mutare, Hwange, Masvingo and the Midlands province.
“We believe that the coming in of the new airport will create opportunities for warehouses for cargo and other amenities we find across the Limpopo River in South Africa.
“We are looking at starting the project as soon as possible, which we feel is very critical. As we move forward we are considering upgrading those we have in other areas,” said the minister.
He said they have also identified a contractor to modernise the Beitbridge border post.
Dr Gumbo said work on the border transformation would start at the end of February.
“The dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu road will also increase traffic to Beitbridge.
“We expect the machinery to carry out the upgrading of the road in two weeks. At the moment it is being assembled in South Africa.
“In addition, we intend to revive passenger trains and also reduce the amount of commercial cargo on our roads, with the support of viable goods trains,” he said.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe general manager Mr David Chawota said relevant studies will now be undertaken for the Beitbridge Airport project implementation.
-ChroniclePost published in: Business