Posted by Sombe Longwani

The Zambian Government has lauded the Southern African Railway Association (SARA) for increased business on the North South Corridor.

Minister of Transport and Communications, Brian Mushimba said the sixty percent increase on the corridor is a confirmation that the collaborative efforts of SARA and other strategic initiatives being implemented are bearing fruits.

Mr Mushimba said this at the official opening of the SARA Board meeting held at Protea Hotel in Lusaka.

The Minister expressed confidence that the business on the corridor will increase to over 80 percent with concerted efforts from regional railways.

“I am glad to note that over the years, SARA’s activities have extended beyond co-ordination, lobbying and advocacy to initiating and playing a leading role in the implementation of regional projects for the benefit of all regional railways” said Mr Mushimba.

Mr Mushimba further said the Government of the Republic of Zambia fully supports the SARA Agenda and stands ready to work with the railway industry and other stake holders in the region, to ensure that the SARA Mission of making the railway industry a top performer in the transport sector is achieved as well as promote social and economic growth in the SADC region.

Meanwhile Zambia Railways Limited has been elected President of the Southern African Railway Association (SARA) for the period 2017 to 2018 at the SARA Board meeting.

Zambia Railways Limited Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda held the position of Vice President before being elected President of SARA taking over from Railway Safety Regulator of South Africa, Chief Executive Officer Nkululeko Poya.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Musonda appreciated the role that SARA has played in strengthening business relationships among regional railways despite the many challenges faced by the railways.

“As i take on this new responsibility, i would like to urge all the members of SARA to continue working together in growing the regional rail market share which has declined  15percent from  60percent ” Mr Musonda said.

Mr Musonda added that there is need to develop adequate capacity to meet the market demand and also improve the operational efficiency in order for regional railways to compete favourably on the market.

ZRL has been a founder member of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA) since its inception in 1996.

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