ZRL TARGETS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS ON BEIRA CORRIDOR
Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has commenced engagements to resume movements to and from the Port of Beira in Mozambique, targeting to commence in the first quarter of 2020.
The Railways last moved significant traffic (fertilizer) from the Beira port in 2014, but the operation could not be sustained due operational challenges mainly arising from the fact that the railway network between Mozambique and Zambia is about 940 km longer than the road network.
ZRL, in conjunction with Caminhos De Ferro De Mozambique (CFM) and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), is in the process of exploring cost effective initiatives that will enable the movement of cargo to and from the Port of Beira.
One of the options being considered is the Rail-Road Intermodal arrangement.
Through these efforts, ZRL is determined to re-gain the market share on the corridor which will translate into economic benefits for the railway operators and the nation at large.
Having attended the Beira corridor Conference which was held in Ndola on 26th September, 2019, ZRL Acting Director Marketing Godfrey Fumbeshi indicates that the Railways have no choice but to be part of the volume growth for movements to and from Beira.
“The Port of Beira authorities have put up systems and done works that have attracted cargo such as bulk sulphur and have an ambitious Programme which will further attract more cargo” said Mr Fumbeshi
Mr Fumbeshi adds that this growth will only be sustained if the Railways come on board to be part of the Logistics Supply Chain.
He has revealed that ZRL is repositioning itself to start transporting cargo such as Fertilizer, Sulphur and Copper using collaborative methods like the intermodal initiatives.
Mr Fumbeshi has commended the neighbouring Railways for the regional efforts that have been made in the past in marketing the Beira Corridor.
He said the collaboration with neighbouring railways will continue on all the corridors in the sub region, further noting that Beira corridor will be an added option for the importers and exporters in Zambia.
Meanwhile, during the Beira Port conference, the Port Executive Managing Director Jan Laurens de Vries, disclosed that after completion of expansion works on the bulk material terminal, the port received the first vessel with 27,500 tons of bulk Sulphur on 24th June,2019
Mr Laurens de Vries has described this as a ‘game changer’ as previously the port was handling only containerized sulphur.
He has implored Zambian Exporters and Importers to utilize the Port as it is a cost effective solution.
The port is currently working on expanding the bulk material handling from 30,000 tons to 70,000 tons. This is expected to be completed in 2020.