South Africa’s biggest wildlife reserve and some local businesses are opposing plans for a new privately operated trucks-only border crossing aimed at speeding up mineral exports to ports in neighboring Mozambique.
The Logistics Co., indirectly owned by Old Mutual’s African Infrastructure Investment Managers, plans to open a new route at Komatipoort, the main land crossing from South Africa en route to Maputo, the Mozambican capital. The development will be on the southeastern boundary of the Kruger National Park, closer to the reserve than the current crossing.
“Our concerns are around the negative impact this proposal will have on the environment, biodiversity and the protected area of the Kruger National Park,” Isaac Phaahla, spokesman for the reserve, said by email. The park has submitted its concerns as part of the environmental impact assessment process, he said.
The proposed new border post would help ease pressure on the existing stop, where a queue of lorries carrying iron ore, chrome and coal can stretch for 30 km. The congestion has brought chaos to the town of Komatipoort, as the trucks often become a major bottleneck on an increasingly important export corridor for South Africa’s mining companies.
The Logistics Co. wants to build a parking area on the outskirts of Komatipoort that will have immigration and customs facilities and upgrade existing gravel roads that trucks will use to proceed to a rail terminal it has built on the Mozambican side of the border.
“All suggested negative impacts can be mitigated to lower the impact on the environment to an acceptable level,” including the concerns raised by South African National Parks, the state agency that runs the Kruger reserve, according to Hennie Jooste, the company’s head of operations.