PETROLEUM Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) general secretary Benson Tembo says the partial closure of Nakonde border will not affect transportation of petroleum into the country.

In an interview, Tembo said the closure would not negatively affect the transportation of petroleum products into Zambia because several transporters had now opted to use the Beira-Chirundu corridor from Mozambique to import the goods into the country.

“The partial closure of Nakonde is welcome. It is a well-thought out move by government because everyone knows that Nakonde border is too porous, and with the position the Tanzanian government had taken with regards to the COVID-19, I think government did well to effect that closure of Nakonde just to monitor the infections. Regarding the transportation of imported fuel in the country, I am sure that it is common knowledge that history tells us that most of the petroleum products have been coming from Tanzania through the Nakonde border. This has been supplied by the government-contracted suppliers, but unfortunately, recently, I think in the past six months, government-contracted suppliers haven’t been active in supplying the product,” Tembo said.

“In this regard, our own local oil companies have been given that space to supply the broken products. During this COVID-19 outbreak, most of the local Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have been buying their products through the Beira corridor then trough Chirundu border. So, the closure of the Nakonde border at his moment has not really affected the business of petroleum transporters.”

Tembo added that the Association had not recorded any driver that had tested positive of COVID-19 so far, but urged drivers using the Beira corridor to continue adhering to public health provisions.

“All our drivers are using the Beira corridor and the drivers have shown professionalism in the manner they adhere to the provisions, even by the countries where they traverse, like Zimbabwe or Mozambique. Our records show that there is no tanker driver, who has been infected with COVID-19, which goes to show that our drivers are adhering to the provisions and guidelines by health officials along these corridors; they continue to do that, even in our own territory, which gives us that excitement, for now. We would like to encourage the drivers to continue servicing these corridors in the manner they have done so far,” said Tembo.