ONE of Zimbabwe’s largest transport and logistics company, Swift, has bounced back into the tobacco industry three years after cutting ties following long queues at auction floors.
BY MOSES CHIBAYA
Swift stopped transporting tobacco bales to auction floors in August 2010 as massive congestions at the floors meant that trucks would spend more days in queues.
Farmers incurred huge losses owing to the several days they waited to sell their crop, leaving them in a difficult situation and making it difficult for them to prepare for the next tobacco farming season.
Sanity has however now returned to the tobacco floors with long queues having disappeared.
In e-mailed responses, Swift’s public relations manager, Kerne Mackie said at its peak the company would transport 200 bales a day.
“For the first time since 2010 Swift transport is entering the arena of tobacco transportation. At its peak the company was transporting around 200 bales per day, but had to bow out when logistical problems at the floor caused delays with vehicles sometimes being tied up for days and the venture proving to be too impractical for the transporter,” Mackie said.
“In 2013 the situation at the floor has vastly improved with more queues and Swift’s first deliveries being timeously and efficiently handled.”
Mackie said Swift transport would be accepting tobacco bales from growers in areas such as Rusape, Karoi, Chinhoyi and Bindura.
He said Swift would also be assisting the farmers with a cash advance for the transportation of their tobacco to the depots which the company would recover upon delivering the consignment to the floors in Harare.
Swift started its deliveries to auction floors last week.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board says about 77 910 hectares of land have been put under tobacco this year, a massive 38% jump from the 56 377 hectares grown last season.
Timb estimates that 170 million kg of tobacco will be sold this selling season.