TAZARA, Dutch firm ink railway operations deal
Published On January 22, 2014 » 2628 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Business, Stories
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By JAMES KUNDA and KENNEDY MUPESENI –
THE Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and Impala Warehousing and Logistics International BV, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deliberate an agreement that will give the Dutch-owned firm track access to operate its own trains on the TAZARA rail line.
TAZARA managing director Ronald Phiri said the MoU is in line with stakeholder aspirations to re-capitalise the railway firm and enhance operational efficiency.
TAZARA is currently facing challenges that are a consequence of many years of under-capitalisation and lack of sufficient working capital to sustain operations.
“In November 2013, the TAZARA council of ministers directed us to work out a framework for incorporating private sector participation in the authority’s operations and future investment plans.
“This is where we are now, easing the pressure off the tax-payer by bringing in the private sector investments without necessarily altering the shareholding structure,” he said.
In order to structure the partnership proposal, Impala has contracted VECTURIS of Belgium as the railway operator who have embarked on a technical due diligence aimed at having a perfect understanding of the prevailing operating environment.
This would include the assessment of infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance needs.
VECTURIS has undertaken to complete the due diligence and prepare a partnership proposal within ninety days from the date of signing the MoU.
Once concluded and subject to approval of TAZARA and VECTURIS board of directors, the track access and operating agreements will mark the beginning of private sector participation in the operations of TAZARA.
This is contained in a statement made available in Ndola yesterday by TAZARA spokesperson Conrad Simuchile.
“TAZARA’S highest policy organ, the council of ministers has already sanctioned the development as a means for attracting non-equity private sector investments in the absence of sufficient funding from the two shareholding governments of Tanzania and Zambia,” Mr Phiri added.
VECTURIS managing director Eric Peiffer, who signed the MoU on behalf of Impala, commended the unfolding partnership between the company and TAZARA as a win-win affair.

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