By JAMES KUNDA –
ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) plans to transport 1.6 million tonnes of cargo in 2014, chief executive officer Muyenga Atanga has said.
Professor Atanga announced in Ndola that company had set the handling of 1.6 million tonnes of cargo per year as target in the interim, according to its long-term strategic plan launched in 2013.
He said ZRL set another target to transport not less than five million tonnes of cargo per year in the long-term.
“The company has performed fairly well in 2013 as we have been able to sustain several rehabilitation programmes for the main line and the rolling stock.
“And according to our strategic plan years ahead, we have targeted to move at least 1.6 million tonnes of cargo in 2014,” Prof Atanga said.
He said the company made headways in meeting its cargo shipment target following an agreement with Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) to distribute fertiliser to farmers in selected parts of the country.
Prof Atanga said in collaboration with other railway firms, the company opened up selected points to link Zambia’s railway system with other countries in the region.
“We have opened up the Beira corridor linking Zambia with Botswana; the Nacala corridor will link Zambia with Mozambique and the Walvis Bay Corridor will be the link between Zambia and Namibia,” he said.
Prof Atanga reiterated that ZRL would take over operations of the Mulobezi railway line effective January next year.
“ZRL has been delegated to take over operations of Mulobezi railway and effective January; we’ll start working on rehabilitating infrastructure in form of rolling stock and locomotives so that the facility becomes operational.
“We want wagons to be designated for cargo alone and coaches to cater for the passengers, hence our resolve to develop railway infrastructure” he said.
Prof Atanga said the US$120 million grant to the company from Government has been concentrated on rehabilitation of railway infrastructure countrywide.