Transist Bureau rocks!
Transist Bureau rocks!
The Transist Bureau has been doing a sensational job of helping transport operators avoid the pitfalls associated with cross-border transport. We salute it!
The Transist Bureau – which was established in 2019 – provides assistance in dealing with harassment from law enforcement agencies, helps with the release of vehicles wrongfully impounded at the border posts, and lobbies with border management and revenue authorities to improve the efficiency at the regional border posts.
Over the last 10 months, it has recruited about 20 transporters and four affiliated members. It has already notched up many successes – some have benefited individual transporters and others have benefited the cross-border transport industry in general, whether the transporters were Bureau members or not. These include actions relating to the following:
• The overturning of dubious traffic fines issued by law enforcement agencies, amounting to thousands of US dollars
• The release of wrongfully impounded trucks with no penalties or fines
• The ending of some corrupt activities of law enforcement agencies in Zambia connected to the escorting of maize meal loads through Zambia
• The Transist Bureau successfully negotiated extended operating hours and faster processing of trucks through Kasumbalesa at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic: a 90 km queue extending as far as Kitwe was reduced to zero within seven days
• More recently, at the beginning of June, the Transist Bureau negotiated a 24-hour operation at Chirundu for seven days to decongest the border and eliminate a 30 km queue extending into the game reserve on the Zimbabwe side – all within two days. This has since been extended on an ongoing basis; and there is a proposal to include those 24/7 operations into the legal framework and One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Acts of both Zambia and Zimbabwe
In July, the Transist Bureau had a truck belonging to a Mozambique transporter released at the Chirundu border post after it had been impounded with its cargo under a seizure notice from the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for 54 days with a $9 000 penalty for a false declaration. The Transist Bureau’s investigations proved that the transporter was not at fault and the clearing instructions were consistent with documents provided to the clearing agent. In fact, the clearing agent was at fault. The outcome of the investigations and appeal made to ZRA has a twofold result: the transporter’s truck was released with no penalties attached, and the clearing agent’s licence was revoked.
These success stories are testimony to the management of Transist Bureau CEO Mike Fitzmaurice, who is constantly prioritising and focusing on the greater interests of the transporter.
FOCUS is a member of the Transist Bureau WhatsApp group, and we’re constantly amazed at the long hours that Fitzmaurice puts in on a daily basis to resolve issues at the border posts and along the corridors. His availability – virtually 24/7 – on the WhatsApp group, where he responds timeously to service-related messages, is proof of his dedication to his role. No price can be put on the value the Transist Bureau adds to the transport and the cross-border industry as a whole in the southern and east African region.
We hope that many more transport operators will become members of the Transist Bureau; it simply makes sense (and cents too, when one considers the massive penalties that can be averted).