SWAZILAND BUSINESS YEAR BOOK 2002
Swazilands diverse transport service infrastructure is well developed and covers the spectrum of requirements for the movement of goods. Several operations specialising in various services operate within the country and are professionally run to high standards.
Transport sector regulations fall under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, through which related bodies such as the Road Transportation Board, the Road Safety Office and the Civil Aviation Authority operate.
A protocol has been agreed upon to expand cooperation relating to infrastructure and services, and to establish, among other things, a viable and sustainable transport system. In this respect, an integrated transport policy is to be established which, among other clauses, will remove hindrances regarding the movement of people, goods and services.
Regulations relating to private aircraft allow for the operators to fly in and out of Swaziland direct from any airfield in the country, without routing via Matsapha airport, provided the relevant authorities are notified two days in advance.
The Civil Aviation Authority at the Ministry of Transport and Communications controls this sector.
In June 2000 the F28 was replaced with a Jetstream J41 and an additional service was introduced to further improve access to and from Swaziland. The airline currently operates 26 return flights between Johannesburg and Matsapha each week.
The 37 employees comprise pilots, cabin attendants, aircraft technicians and passenger handling agents. An average of 4,000 passengers and 5,000 kg of cargo are carried each month.
The airline has alliances with South African Airways, South African Express and South African Airlink, and is a member of the Voyager Frequent Flyer programme.
A Memorandum of Understanding between Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho applies to cross border traffic and provides for high safety standards and the rationalisation of road traffic density. Operators may obtain permits, which are recognised among the countries concerned, through the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Applications must be accompanied by a certificate of fitness for each vehicle and the permits are valid for one year or 30 return trips. An infrastructure cost recovery scheme ensures that operators pay a fair share towards road maintenance.
Although the transport of goods between other countries in the region entails separate permits, a common ruling for the SADC states is in hand which will streamline operations.
Legislation pertaining to road transportation was revised in 1997 and a new Road Transportation Bill was approved by cabinet. Clauses of particular importance include the recognition of mini-buses as a form of public transport and the provision for investigating trading patterns on the various bus routes. The legislation replaces the Act of 1963.
The versatile GFLT (general freight & liquid tanker) is capable of carrying general dry goods as well as liquid petroleum products and the Swaziland registered GFLT, which operates in conjunction with Shell, realises excellent results. When Cargo Carriers was awarded the transport contract for the Simunye ethanol project in 1996, three new tankers for carrying the product to Durban for export were acquired. This investment entailed about E9.6 million and almost E4 million was subsequently budgeted for the Swaziland operation.
The ISO 9002 was successfully implemented at the Simunye branch and the other branches were subsequently upgraded to that status. This was a drive to increase operational efficiency and client service.
Cargo Carriers is geared to clients of all sizes and is involved in cross border work with several countries, including Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, providing a vital import and export link.
The company takes initiatives with Swazi empowerment by sub-contracting certain work to local transporters. In another development, the Big Bend branch has expanded into mechanical harvesting through a strategic partner and there is a possibility of expanding such in-field operations.
An E5 million investment in a computerised internal operations system at the Johannesburg head office has ensured even better customer service which also benefits the Swaziland clientele.
DHL Swazilands operation includes two service centres based in Mbabane and Matsapha, and a dedicated daily air charter service between Johannesburg International Airport and Swaziland.
Swaziland Railway remains committed to customer care and measuring the degree of client satisfaction is an ongoing exercise.
THE INLAND CLEARANCE DEPOT
The depot, which operates as a dry port, is ideal for a land-locked country such as Swaziland because it incorporates all the services of a sea port, including container handling, customs clearance to facilitate through bills of lading, and a customs bonded store. These enable many of the procedures carried out at a sea port to be handled at Matsapha.
Three, six and twelve metre containers enable different sizes and configurations of goods to be accommodated. The containers are moved by road on Swaziland Railway trucks and then transported by rail to the ship.
Goods arriving in the country from outside the Common Customs Area must have import permits and declared values, with clearing documents issued by a recognised agent.
Sales tax of 12% (still expected to rise to 14%) is payable on all imported goods, with the exception of alcohol and tobacco products which are taxed at 25% . Invoices must be supplied at the point of entry where the tax is also collected, unless a sales tax registration number is presented.
Although value added tax applies in South Africa, commodities exported from that country into Swaziland are allocated zero rating provided the exporter is satisfied that the goods are destined for outside that country, and that relevant forms are complete, thus avoiding double taxation.
Affordable Car Hire
Affordable Car Hires vehicles may be driven to Mozambique subject to prior arrangement, and payment may be tendered in cash or through major credit cards.
The policy of providing a highly personalisedservice is an integral part of the companys reputation and is practised by all the people involved in the Swazilandoperation.
Removals to all destinations are undertaken, including local, long-distance and all parts of the globe.
There is no subsidy from government or municipalities and operators are entirely responsible for maintaining their vehicles in a fit and safe condition. Buses are checked regularly by a government vehicle examiner and if found deficient, removed from service until repaired.
Because the majority of Swazis rely on buses, efficient and safe services are essential to the economy and existing legislation still does not allow the industry to be as efficient as it should be. Permit holders do not always adequately service their routes and anomalies in the system mean that permission to operate on the same run may be withheld from a potentially efficient party. New legislation addresses this problem and introduces a number of improvements, including stricter safety regulations. However, this has not yet been enforced. Since 1997, mini-buses have been officially acceptable as a means of public transport.
Privately owned taxis play a smaller but important part in the public transport sector. Operators of these vehicles must be properly registered and possess the relevant Road Transportation Board permit.
The future depends on suppliers ability to contain price increases and the possible hike from 12% to 14% in sales tax will make vehicles even more expensive.
Source: Central Statistical Office