Zambia-Daily-Mail-ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT is expected to sign a statutory instrument that will compel the transporters to ferry certain amount of cargo onto the rail to cushion the damage on roads.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba is hopeful that the discussions with various industry players, which are currently underway, are likely to be concluded next month.
In an interview recently, Mr Mushimba said Government will continue to invest in both the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to boost the operations of the two service providers.
“We have injected over US$120 million from the Eurobond into ZRL and it has drastically improved the company’s operations. We have now started engaging transporters of bulk cargo to move on rail…we feel the rail sector has started going the right direction in terms of efficiency, speed and security.
“ZRL train speed was as low as 10kilometre [km] per hour but has since increased to over 50km/hour at the speed that the market can appreciate to move their cargo. So, when we talk about the SI to move certain cargo off the road, there will be an incentive for the market to actually move onto rail. But we will not force them,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said Government will continue conducting more investment studies to help the sector increase efficiencies.
ZAMBIA RAILWAYS SCOOPS BEST OVERALL EXHIBITOR AWARD AT THE CAMINEX SHOW
Zambia Railways Limited scooped the Best Overall Exhibitor Award at the Copperbelt, Agricultural, Mining, Industrial, Networking and Exhibition (CAMINEX) trade expo in Kitwe.
The Trade Expo which was until now known as The Copperbelt Agriculture and Mining Show was held from the 6th to 8th June, 2017 under the theme ‘Adding Value –The Home Grown Solution’.
Speaking after receiving the award, Zambia Railways Limited Managing Director, Christopher Musonda said the award was a sign that the railway firm has made tremendous improvements in its operations and services by adding value to the transportation chain.
Mr Musonda attributed the win to team work.
“On behalf of Zambia Railways Limited, allow me to appreciate my team for the commitment and innovations that are adding value to the transport logistic chain. This award signifies the value and importance of railway transport in the economic sectors of Zambia” Mr Musonda said.
And in line with the theme, the Zambia Railways stand attracted a number of high profile clients and stakeholders that included, the Guest of Honour, Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Mines, Hon. Christopher Yaluma, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Michael Katambo and other senior government officials.
Zambia Railways stand showcased current projects and programmes being carried out such as the remanufacturing of locomotives and wagons, the inter-modal initiative aimed at servicing companies that are not yet rail linked, the Intermine rail connectivity on the Copperbelt and the new passenger service among others.
During her stand orientation, Ms Mwanakatwe was informed that the re-manufacturing of obsolete locomotives in partnership with SMH Rail of Malaysia was progressing well, and that three locomotives have been completed while the other seven were in the process of rehabilitation.
The Minister was further informed that the Zambia Railways Engineering Division at Workshops successfully carried out the remanufacturing of bottom discharge wagons into side tipping wagons to suit the current customer needs in the mining industry.
The other initiatives showcased at the CAMINEX Show include; the rail connectivity of Chambishi Copper Smelter to the main network for transportation of various mining products to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Inter- modal initiative being done in partnership with Zambian Furnance Supplies for the transportation of coal from the Batoka Coal Mines in Southern Province to Bwana Mkubwa in Ndola for customers that are not yet rail linked.
The 2017 CAMINEX saw a number of new comers including the Nacala Corridor Logistics.
The Expo also for the first time included Seminars and Presentations by key industry players and academics.
Government has reiterated its commitment in pursuing and implementing strategies aimed at developing the railway transport in Zambia.
Speaking at the North- South Corridor Pre-feasibility study, Acting Minister of Transport and Communications Emerine Kabanshi said in order to transform the two railway systems in Zambia into a reliable, efficient, secure and cost effective transportation networks for bulk in the North to South Transport Corridor, the government has embarked on a radical program aimed at modernizing the railway infrastructure and rolling stock.
Ms Kabanshi said the North-South Corridor Study will therefore contribute to the modernisation of the railway system in the region as it will provide cardinal information required to understand fully the market trends, rolling stock and railway infrastructure required to meet the demands of customers in our ever-changing business environment.
“The study will also make available valuable information for prospective investors on the financing requirements to fully recapitalise the railway system along the North to South Corridor” she said
She added that the Corridor is very pivotal in transforming Zambia into a transport hub for the Southern African region and we will fully embrace all development efforts that the NEPAD Business Foundation, the Southern Africa Development Community and the Development Bank of Southern Africa have embarked on through the North to South Corridor infrastructure development study.
Ms Kabanshi was however quick to mention the government through the Ministry of Transport and Communications is in the final phase of a detailed feasibility study of the Zambia Railways network from Mulobezi in the Western Province to Chingola in the Copperbelt Province.
“The Government is however alive to the fact that the two railway lines (Zambia Railways and TAZARA) have not performed satisfactorily to position the railway sector as the preferred mode of transport in the North to South Transport Corridor” she said
She further said that the performance of the two railway lines has been on the decline for a number of years, due to limited working capital for the two railway systems which has resulted in deferred maintenance of the entire railway infrastructure and equipment, resulting in poor reliability of rolling stock and dilapidated permanent way.
The North South Corridor is one of the key import and export routes for trade moving into and out of Southern Africa and parts of East and Central Africa.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Limited hosted the Pre-feasibility study inception meeting with railway operators in the SADC region in Lusaka.
Zambia Railways Limited is a member of the Executive Committee of the North-South Corridor which resolved to carry out an infrastructure investment and operating study.
The North South Corridor is Zambia Railway’s main international gateway for rail transportation of cargo destined for Zambia and other countries.
The NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) secured grant funding for execution of the North South Corridor (NSC) study in June 2016.
The North South Corridor covers the railway stretch from the Republic of South Africa through Zimbabwe and Botswana to the Democratic Republic of Congo passing through Zambia.
The purpose of the study is to develop a North South Corridor (NSC) rail infrastructure and logistics for the rehabilitation and upgrade of equipment and infrastructure on the NSC.
The study will be used as a blue print to grow the freight and passenger volumes transported on the corridor and to reduce the cost of transportation through better price and service strategies.
The study is being funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa(DBSA) through grant funding secured from the SADC Project Preparation Development Facility(PPDF).
The following organizations attended the meeting:
- Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL)
- Société nationale des Chemins de fer du Congo (SNCC)
- Beitbridge Bulawayo Railways (BBR)
- National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
- Transnet Freight Rail (TFR)
- Botswana Railways (BR)
- Swaziland Railway (SR)
- Southern African Railways Association (SARA)
- SADC Secretariat
- Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)
- Consultant (Arup)
- NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF)