Botswana’s small railway transportation sector has registered a decline in revenues and the number of goods transported during the final quarter of last year, new data has shown. Statistics Botswana said in its Botswana Transport and Infrastructure Statistics brief for Q4 2013 that there was a decrease of 7.8 percent in total rail goods traffic during the period. Comparison of Q4 2013 to the same quarter of the previous year (Q4 2012) shows a decrease of 8.1 percent in total rail goods traffic while imported rail goods accounted for the largest proportion of total rail goods traffic, as they made up 48.4 percent of the total.
“Even though the quantity of goods transported through rail continues to decline, this does not have an adverse effect on revenue,” the organization said.
Revenues generated from goods traffic amounted to P76, 9 million in Q4 2013, which was a decrease of 7.2 percent when compared to P82.9 million generated in the previous quarter. Comparison of Q4 2013 to the same quarter in the previous year shows an increase of 11.2 percent from P69.2 million generated in Q4 2012 to P76.9 million realized in Q4 2013.
This decline is also seen in air transportation, which registered a decline in the same period. International aircraft movements decreased by 16.0 percent in Q4 2013 from 5,399 movements recorded in Q3 2014 to 4,536 movements in Q4 2013 while domestic aircraft movements decreased by 11.5 percent from 19,482 movements registered in Q3 2013 to 17,233 movements in Q4 2013.
Statistics Botswana explained that the Botswana Origin are goods composed of Total Exports and Local Traffic goods while those referred to as Botswana Total is an addition of Total Imports and Botswana Origin goods. Total Traffic is then derived from adding Botswana Total and Transit Traffic (Transit Traffic is goods passing through Botswana in transit to other countries).
Goods transported through rail continued to decline throughout the 2013. Even though it is cheaper to transport goods by rail, there is still a preference for road transport because of the advantages of transporting goods to reach their exact destination. Botswana Railways remains the major player in the country’s railway industry, but that will change in the near future with the planned construction of the Trans-Kalahari Rail (TKR) project between Botswana and Namibia. The project will take years to build but it will surely change the railway landscape. On the other hand, water transport remains minimal with Chobe River being a major source linking Botswana to Zambia. Kazungula Ferry enhances movement of people, vehicles and goods across the Chobe River in Botswana and Zambezi River in Zambia. It therefore provides a gateway to countries in the north mainly Angola, DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Data for the Mohembo pontoon is not available. Movement of people in Mohembo was not recorded because it is regarded as local travel, and the movement is done through a bridge.
Those who used the Kazungula pontoon in 2013 were mostly foreigners.