Monday, September 21, 2020

Choppies Distribution Center obstructing road and business in Commerce Park

Companies based in Commerce Park and their clients are enraged and are up in arms at the way the Choppies Distribution Center is monopolizing the East Gate road, parking their numerous long-haul trucks and trailers half a mile long on either side of the road, forcing both motorists and pedestrians off the road while the trucks go in and out of the Distribution center to off-load or load items for distribution to their outlets.

They claim that Choppies, which is also based in Commerce Park, completely disregards road safety and doesn’t acknowledge the usage of the road by other motorists as they temporarily block workers from reaching their place of work in time and forcing other people’s customers to park their vehicles a long way away and walk back to look for the entrance to the business premises they are trying to visit.

The Sunday Standard has observed that on almost a daily basis, Choppies trucks will line up and park on both sides of the already congested road, causing motorists traveling in and out of the park to line up in a single file queue, as only one car can squeeze in the tiny space between the trucks.

A manager of one of the companies near Choppies, who asked to remain anonymous, said that sometimes they, as workers based on the same side where the Choppies center is located, usually take a long time to find space between trucks to reach their offices in the morning.

Most workers who talked to the Sunday Standard expressed frustration at how they have to be put through the unnecessary process, more so that it’s against the rules of the road.

“Choppies should open their back wall to allow their heavy trailers access to the premises so that commerce can actually flow at Commerce Park,” said one employee. “Even pedestrians and cyclists are forced to walk in drainage dug-outs but Choppies carries on as if all is well.”

As a result of this, said another manager, who also declined to be named, people often arrive late for meetings and miss appointments even though they could have made it in time. They have to leave their cars a distance away then ask one of their employees to go and fetch it but then parking becomes a problem because the long-haul trucks use other companies’ parking space as they struggle to go in and out of the Choppies Distribution Center.

While road safety should be a major priority to road users, there is no one to direct traffic in front of the Distribution Center as motorists try to squeeze through any opening made available.

The most affected persons happen to be employees housed in MLP House, Moores Roland and Ipelo House and from companies surrounding the Distribution Centre.

Sunday Standard received a number of complaints that companies such as Dynamic Insurance Brokers, Gaborone Electronics, Babcock TCM, Panasonic, First Life Insurance, amongst others, have had some of their parking spaces for their customers being used by Choppies trucks without proper consent.

It doesn’t help much that right next door to the Choppies Distribution Center lies another problem: a garage that specialises in the repair of heavy Volvo trucks and buses.

“They even cost us our business because on some days they park right in front of our buildings and potential customers fail to see where our offices are and then take their business elsewhere,” said an irate manager at one of the companies.

The Sunday Standard tried several times to get comment from the Choppies Distribution Center manager who was still unavailable at the time of going to press.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.