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Category: Blogs

Fees

Fees

June 6, 2008 | Comments (0)

Even as the Mozambican police force is less corrupt than it was in the past, plenty of parties continue to demand “facilitation fees.” Prior to entering the port of Beira, truck drivers must clear their paperwork at a decrepit customs building just outside the gate. Some 20 young men are hanging around with no obvious […]

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Back on the road again

Back on the road again

June 5, 2008 | Comments (0)

Traffic is light and consists mostly of trucks. We also encounter several overloaded busses heading in the opposite direction. “Mozambicans and Malawians fleeing anti-immigrant violence in South Africa,” explains Alex. At times, he pulls over to chat with a fellow Transcom Sharaf driver. Because Alex’s truck is the newest and most modern in the fleet, […]

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Who wants to be a billionaire?

Who wants to be a billionaire?

June 4, 2008 | Comments (0)

The new Zimdollar is a note of 5 billion, not 50 billion as I wrote earlier. All the same, it means that Zimbabwe not only has the world’s best performing stockmarket, but also the greatest number of billionaires. Five billion Zimbabwe dollars equals US$2.50 today–probably half of that tomorrow. Have fun counting zeros when buying […]

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Slow-motion slalom

Slow-motion slalom

June 4, 2008 | Comments (0)

The first part of our journey progresses smoothly. Malawi’s roads appear to be in relatively good condition. I mentioned that to Guy Harvey upon arrival in Lilongwe, but he just grinned. “Just wait until you get to Mozambique,” he said. But the roads on the other side of the border are just as smooth. “This […]

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Day-to-day

Day-to-day

June 4, 2008 | Comments (0)

Trucker is a popular profession in Africa. Not only does it pay comparatively well, it also offers drivers an opportunity to run all sorts of businesses on the side, such as smuggling cigarettes, transporting passengers and diverting fuel. A representative of a Zimbabwean trucking company tells the story of one driver who didn’t bother to […]

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Cobs and robbers

Cobs and robbers

June 3, 2008 | Comments (0)

We encounter our first police stop at the outskirts of Lilongwe, but the officer waves us through. Malawi police are relatively relaxed, and those in Mozambique have gotten much better as the country’s economy improves. In the 1990s, with memories of the civil war still fresh, the police in Mozambique were notorious for shaking down […]

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Alex

Alex

June 2, 2008 | Comments (0)

Today, we will drive the first part of our journey, from Lilongwe to Tete, where we will spend the night near Mozambique Leaf Tobacco Co.’s leaf processing facility. Our cargo: 20 tons of Malawi burley from Alliance One, destined for Philip Morris Germany. To ensure their guest is comfortable, Transcom Sharaf has assigned me to […]

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Diesel

Diesel

June 2, 2008 | Comments (0)

In addition to accelerated vehicle wear and tear, transportation companies operating in Africa incur another expense that their counterparts in Europe and the United States seldom have to take into account—fuel theft by drivers. The driver will stop and sell small quantities of diesel to villagers, who siphon it out of the fuel tank into […]

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Lilongwe, Malawi

Lilongwe, Malawi

May 30, 2008 | Comments (0)

Insiders quip that the transportation business will turn your hair fully gray by age 40. This prediction could of course easily be dismissed as one of those professional folklores that can be heard in any line of business where a heavy workload is common. But in transportation and logistics, premature aging actually seems to be […]

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Share your experiences

Share your experiences

May 30, 2008 | Comments (0)

As I share my experiences traveling on a tobacco transport, I invite you to share yours using the comment function at the end of each post. It might require registration but shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. In particular, I’d like to invite employees of Transcom Sharaf to participate in this blog by sharing […]

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