The causes of high intra-regional road freight rates for food and commodities in Southern Africa
This paper focuses on key areas for reducing transport costs in Southern Africa emerging from recent research on cross-border freight between Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We consider the impact of competition, border delays and lack of return loads on transport rates which could be reduced significantly through increased availability of return loads for transporters, linked to growing industrial capacity in each country.
Furthermore, increased competition and reducing delays for transporters contributed to a large reduction in transport rates between Lusaka and Johannesburg, with similar effects from Malawi. Margins charged in refrigerated transport are high due to low levels of rivalry and lack of return loads. Measures to reduce border constraints and enable greater rivalry between transporters from different countries could have a downward effect on transport rates in the region which are shown to be above benchmarks for efficient transport.