Trucks loaded with different goods destined for Malawi from Mozambique piled up at Dedza, Zobue and Nyamapanda borders after the Mozambican government introduced road fees abruptly.
Following failure by transporters to pay a road fee pegged at $169 (about K70 000) each, Mozambican authorities started detaining the trucks, including tankers, sending fears of a possible fuel crisis.
But Road Transport Operators Association of Malawi (RTOA) acting executive director Chrissie Flao said in an interview that the newly introduced road fee, supposed to be paid by agents and not transporters, has since been suspended after talks between the two governments.
She said the trucks started entering Malawi through the three borders last weekend.
Flao said Mozambican officials visited Malawi over the issue and her association attended a meeting on Friday in Blantyre which was also attended by officials from the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI).
A Mozambican diplomat in Malawi, according to her, also attended.
Flao said: “As transporters, we expressed our concern that the introduction of the road fee was abrupt and we were not warned. Since it was abrupt, the drivers could not afford to pay that.
“It impacted on us and owners of the cargo in transit. There was total blockage in the borders and the situation was getting out of hand. But after the talks, the Mozambican authorities suspended the fees.”
The Mozambican officials also held talks with Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) because it also impacted on exportation of tobacco.
Flao said ministries of Industry and Trade as well as Transport and Public Infrastructure also intervened by writing to the Mozambican government.
If not sorted out in time, the situation was going to affect importation of fuel.
And a source familiar with the issue said the Mozambican government’s decision was tantamount to a trade barrier contrary to agreements within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and East African Community (EAC) trading blocs.