Centrally located in SADC, Botswana offers land-linked access to seven fast-growing markets and serves as the perfect location to leverage regional trade growth, with intra-regional transport volumes expected to more than double within the next two decades.

According to the World Economic Forum, Botswana has the best landlocked infrastructure in Africa and the third best logistics operating environment in the region. It provides an alternative route to SADC’s other highly congested corridors, such as the route from South Africa through Zimbabwe and further north to Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and is able to leverage favourable port, rail and road infrastructure in neighbouring South Africa and Namibia.

Botswana has committed significant investment to develop new and revitalise existing transport corridors making use of road, rail, airports, dry ports and one-stop border posts. Worthy of note is the P1.4-billion Kazungula Bridge Project linking Botswana and Zambia and opening up possibilities of accessing SADC further up by road.

Botswana’s relatively competitive infrastructure in SADC


Despite Botswana’s relatively limited market size and landlocked positioning, its central location in SADC presents multiple opportunities for investors seeking to tap the cargo, freight and logistics sector in the region.

Among the key opportunities in the sector are:

292 million consumers

Botswana’s central location in SADC with a catchment area of 100 million potential consumers within a 1 500 km radius, and a regional market of 292 million consumers, perfectly positions the country to capture regional consumer freight flows by offering bulk breaking, cargo consolidation, dry ports and cargo warehousing facilities. According to GAIN, combined trade volumes in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa are expected to reach 4.9 trillion tonnes by 2044.

Coal deposits

Botswana has 212 billion tonnes of coal deposits. The country expects to export between 72 million and 90 million tonnes per annum in 2024, substantially exceeding the current rail capacity of 4.2 million tonnes.

To take advantage of these coal deposits, a number of opportunities exist:
  • Increasing the capacity of Botswana Railways;
  • Transporting coal to South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique for export; and
  • Transporting coal to the Morupule and Mmamabula power stations.

Emerging East-West Corridors

  • The Trans-Kalahari Corridor from Walvis Bay Port to Johannesburg via Gaborone will provide an alternative to the highly congested Durban Port. The corridor will enable Botswana to attract cargo away from traditional entry ports in South Africa, making Botswana the ideal transshipment and consolidation hub in SADC.
  • The planned Techobanine Corridor will serve as a heavy haul rail corridor between Botswana and Mozambique via Zimbabwe, supporting Botswana’s future coal exports through a deep water port in the Matutuine district of Maputo province, Mozambique, unlocking further trade opportunities with Asia.

Adding to the North-South Spine

The Kazungula Bridge Development will provide a road and rail bridge land link between Botswana and Zambia, facilitating the export of bulk commodities from Katanga province, DRC and the transport of coal from Botswana to copper smelters and refineries in Zambia and the DRC.

Following the expected completion in 2018, Kazungula will be the fastest link between the South African coast and the DRC.

Courier and Express Freight

Botswana’s air infrastructure is International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant, is less congested than OR Tambo International Airport and offers a more competitive fee structure.

Botswana has the capacity to serve as a satellite hub complementing South Africa and to service niche sectors and under-serviced routes, and thus to expand its air, freight and air passenger volumes. Botswana’s growing tourism market will be aligned to growing cargo and logistics capacity and opportunities within the country.

If your company operates in the cargo, freight and logistics industry and wishes to reach the SADC markets, contact the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre to discuss opportunities.

Botswana’s value proposition in the cargo, freight and logistics industry

Botswana’s innovative intra-regional corridor developments and inter-connectivity of road, rail and air cargo provide a model platform to access local, regional and international markets.

Three freight villages, the operational dry port in Gaborone (GABCON) and the planned dry ports in Francistown (FRANCON) and Palapye (PALCON), provide bonded customs facilities and advanced material handling equipment and systems reducing lead times and enhancing efficiency for logistics operators.

Services and value proposition of dry ports in Botswana

GABCON (Gaborone Container Terminal)
  • Consolidation and deconsolidation hub, with the capacity to handle 1 600 TEUs per month
  • Supports manufacturing activities in Gaborone
  • Targeting local, regional and international markets
  • Close proximity to Gaborone’s airfreight hub
  • Close geographic location to South Africa
  • Complete one-stop shop service offering
FRANCON (Francistown Container Terminal)
  • Consolidation and deconsolidation hub
  • Will provide ease of access to landlocked regional markets
  • Focus on beneficiation of bulk commodities sourced from mining and other agriculture initiatives in the DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • In the long term, connection directly to the Trans-Kalahari Railway (TKR) line creating a direct and functioning East-West link between Kazungula and Walvis Bay
PALCON (Palapye Container Terminal)
  • Consolidation hub supporting mining activities in Botswana’s coal fields
  • Strategically positioned as the sourcing hub for bulk mining commodities destined for ports at Durban, Maputo, Richards Bay and Walvis Bay
  • Focus on development of capabilities to support additional manufacturing and beneficiation SEZs with links to coal, copper and iron ore mining activities

Botswana also offers the ideal sub-regional air freight and logistics satellite hub which can serve as alternative distribution base for freight forwarders and cargo owners seeking to access the SADC region.

Botswana is well-positioned to transport small volume, short lead-time cross-border cargo and freight via air rather than by road. Partnering with internationally established players will allow for access to extended networks.

Access the SADC region via Botswana, contact the BITC today

Industry drivers of Botswana’s Cargo, Freight & Logistics sector

Industries that will drive freight flow growth in the short to medium term are export bulk commodities, particularly coal but also iron ore, copper from Zambia and the DRC, and to some extent agricultural exports.

The government’s prioritisation of other sectors including leather, automotive and component manufacturing, mining, and tourism will lead to the development of synergies between these sectors and the logistics industry. This may be very beneficial as input and transport costs are expected to be lowered in the short to medium term.

Companies in the cargo, freight and logistics industry are invited to discuss opportunities with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).
Contact the BITC to start a conversation.

Key supporting industries

Supporting the development of the cargo, freight and logistics sector is the Transport Hub, which coordinates key projects, initiatives and policy interventions to encourage investment and entrepreneurship within the sector. The Transport Hub engages key stakeholders and prospective investors to understand their needs in order to create an enabling environment conductive to doing business within the cargo, freight and logistics sector.

The Transport Hub also co-ordinates engagement between investors and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources and the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana.

Departments and Units Governing Transport and Logistics in Botswana:

Department of Road Transport and Safety
  • Established to promote and regulate both public transport and freight road transport. The department has implemented a number of projects in accordance with its mandate.
Central Transport Organisation
  • Responsible for providing and maintaining the Botswana Government fleet used by all ministries and departments.
Directorate of Accident Investigation (DAI)
  • The DAI is responsible for Civil Aviation accident investigation as well as the publication of reports, implementation of measures and safety recommendations.
Transport Hub
  • Established to identify and coordinate key projects and policy interventions required in the transport in order to develop Botswana as a transport hub within the SADC.
Civil Aviation Authority Of Botswana (CAAB)
  • Responsible for the regulation of air transport, providing air navigation services, managing airports and advising government on all aspects of civil aviation.