Rapid urbanization and rising income levels in Southern Africa have increased the consumption of perishable and processed food products. This paper relies primarily on firm-level interview data to assess competition and bottlenecks in transporting time-sensitive perishable products across borders between Harare, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, and Lusaka. High transport prices in 2015 - almost double the benchmark rates applied and rates for transportation of commodities - are partly explained by concentration in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and lack of return loads to Johannesburg. Rates could be significantly reduced through a platform for co-ordinating access to return loads, reducing delays at borders, and effectively implementing pre-clearance procedures.
road transport perishable goods cross-border transport competition Southern Africa