2 Zimbabwe Logistics Infrastructure

The ease of moving goods and services across borders is an important indicator of the quality of trade and transport facilitation in a country. The World Bank's list of global trading across borders puts Zimbabwe at 172 out of 183 countries. (Mozambique is the best performing SADC country on that list at 132, followed by South Africa at 144, Botswana at 150, Zambia 153 and Malawi 164.) Zimbabwe features on the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) of the World Bank scoring 2.25 out of a possible score of 5 based on six key trade dimensions, which include efficiency of the clearing process by border control agencies and customs, quality of trade and transport related infrastructure, ease of arranging competitively priced shipments, competence and quality of logistics services and ability to track and trace consignments. The country’s LPI should improve with the introduction of the ASYCUDA World, a web-based customs clearing module and pre-clearance which would see an efficient movement of cargo at the border posts. Consultations are underway to establish more One Stop Border Posts and computerization of trade licenses and permits in order to address the problem of border delays.

The Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, a Zimbabwe government ministry, is responsible for all the aspects related to the management of transport, communications, and meteorological and seismological infrastructure and services within the country. The Ministry oversees the following parastatal organisms:

The three main transport modes that serve the Zimbabwean economy are roads, railways, and aviation. Inland water transport is limited and takes place mainly in man-made water bodies such as Lake Kariba. Zimbabwe’s road network was once considered among the best in Africa and it was a significant contributor to the growth of the Zimbabwe economy. The provision and upkeep of the network was backed by intensive research, good experience, and the existence of appropriate technical standards and skills in the country. The railway network connects Zimbabwe with all its four neighbours and beyond. It is a major factor in trade and economic growth within the region. Within Zimbabwe, it connects all major mining areas, heavy industrial centres as well as the major agricultural collection centres and provides much of the transport of mineral exports to seaports in South Africa.

Zimbabwe has rail network of 2,583 km, all of which is narrow gauge. The use of rail for the transport of freight also improves road safety and reduces road damage and congestion. The aviation industry provides international and local air transportation links, with Harare International Airport as the main hub. The other important airports are Joshua Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, and Buffalo Range. In addition, more than 200 airports and aerodromes of diverse standards and capacities are scattered throughout the country. The airports are particularly important for the country’s tourism industry. Air transport also provides essential services to the mining industry in Zimbabwe with links between Harare and the major mining provinces. The World Bank report notes that almost 70,000 km of roads, equivalent to about 80% of the total network, is in need of rehabilitation. Zimbabwe has a total road network of roughly 100,000 km. The interventions to be implemented should include repairing the regional corridors which have a total length of 2,307 km. About 5% of these corridors are in poor condition and about 10% are in fair condition, giving a total length of 345 km of regional corridors that need repair. The repair work includes pot-hole patching, filling of cracks, edge repairs, replacement of road signs, etc. The second intervention would be to repair urban roads as 25% of the network is in poor condition. The government should also repair paved primary and secondary roads as well as maintain the unpaved secondary roads. It is on record that in the medium to long term, government should speed up the dualisation of major truck roads to ensure that road expansion keeps pace with increasing traffic density. The responsible Authorities for roads are Department of Roads, Urban councils, District Development Fund and Rural district Councils. 

For information on logistics rehabilitation in Zimbabwe, please see the following link: Transport World Africa

Transport Sector
The transport sector in Zimbabwe comprises five modes namely, road, rail, aviation, inland water and pipeline transport. The road network, excluding urban roads, totals 76,241 km (of which 9,256 km or 12.1% are bitumen surfaced). The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), is responsible for managing the Road Fund and disbursing to the following road authorities:

  • Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development-responsible for trunk roads; 
  • Rural District and Urban Councils-responsible for urban roads; and
  • District Development Fund-responsible for rural roads. 

The rail network comprises a total 3,100 km of Cape Gauge standard (1,067 mm) of which 340 km between Beitbridge and Bulawayo, built under a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement, is privately owned and operated by the Beitbridge-Bulawayo (BBR) Railway Company. This company provides transport services to passengers, business and the mining industry. The remaining 2,760 km of rail is managed by the Government owned National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) providing passenger and freight transport services.

The aviation sub-sector comprises ten airports, three of which are international airports including Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. The other airports are located at Kariba, Masvingo, Buffalo Range, Mutare, Gweru, Beitbridge and Charles Prince. The ten airports are managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). With respect to pipeline transport, Zimbabwe through the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) controls 21 km of the 287 km oil pipeline running from the Beira port in Mozambique to the Feruka Oil Refinery in Zimbabwe. Water transport is dominated by waterborne tourism, leisure activities, commercial and small-scale fishing and sports on the Kariba Dam and the Zambezi River. There is, however, potential for water transport.

Zimbabwe is a land-locked country and national and regional transport connectivity is a necessary condition for promoting economic activity and cross border trade. The general condition of the transport infrastructure has deteriorated due to inadequate funding for regular maintenance. Government is putting emphasis on rural infrastructure while Public-Private-Partnership ventures (PPPs) are used for major infrastructure development projects. For example, the rehabilitation and maintenance of major trunk roads commenced in 2009 and is currently on-going through the financial resources generated from tolling of the most trafficked road sections. Also, the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Rail Link was constructed on a BOT agreement with the private sector. (Source: TradeMark Southern Africa

Designated road Ports of Entry/Border Posts into Zimbabwe are:

  • Beitbridge
  • Chirundu
  • Victoria Falls
  • Kazungula
  • Nyamapanda
  • Kariba, Forbes
  • Mt Selinda
  • Sango
  • Mphoengs
  • Maitengwe
  • Pandamatenga
  • Plumtree
  • Kanyemba 
  • Mukumbura Border Post

Zimbabwe primary road network

Zimbabwe Road distance Matrix

Ports and Harbours
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and relies on ports in Mozambique (Beira port), South Africa and to a lesser extent, Namibia and Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam) for its overseas imports that come by sea.

Additional information on Zimbabwe logistics infrastructure can be found in the following attachment: Additional Zimbabwe Infrastructure Information


Additional information on Zimbabwe logistics infrastructure can be found in the following attachment: Additional Zimbabwe Infrastructure Information 

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