Copper belt miners turn to Tanzania as South Africa lockdown hobbles ports – by Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – April 7, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG, April 7 (Reuters) – South Africa’s strict coronavirus lockdown has caused miners to divert copper from the country’s ports to others in Africa, with Dar es Salaam the clear winner, sources told Reuters.

Authorities in South Africa initially said ports would only process essential goods during a three-week nationwide lockdown that began on March 27. On Friday, the Department of Transport said ports remain open to all types of cargo.

But miners in the copper belt – an area spanning northern Zambia and southern Democratic Republic of Congo – did not wait for that clarification before acting.

Trucks from the copper belt were turned round midway through journeys to Durban and redirected to Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port, officials at two regional logistics companies said.

“The moment the lockdown happened, all the trucks on their way to South Africa were basically stopped and offloaded at a warehouse in Zambia,” said an official in Tanzania’s capital, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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