Firms actively involved in China’s railway sector have expressed interest to help Zambia improve her railway sector to create a ‘super link’ across the country.
The firms would also be willing to look at the possibility of setting up an intra-town speed train service in Lusaka.
Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Yaluma said in an interview the two companies that had expressed interest were China Railway Construction Company and china Railway Engineering Company.
The two firms are involved in capital intensive projects undertaken in China.
China Railway had also been involved with the construction of the 1,800 km Tazara railway line and had highly skilled staff and expertise.
“We talked to them and will continue to look at other people that can help revamp our infrastructure. All provincial airports will be upgraded to international standard to compete favourably in the tourism industry as all areas of country will be easily accessible,” Mr Yaluma said.
He said to link Zambia with its neighbours by rail was a challenging and ambitious programme. The railway sector had been run down but revamping it had fringe benefits such as extending the life span of the road network as the mining industry would utilise the road as opposed to the current situation.
The other benefit of having a working railway system was the reduction in costs of doing business.
The proposed super link will connect Durban in South Africa to Lubumbashi in DR Congo and Benguela and Lobito in Angola.
Another line would connect Mpulungu harbour which is a gateway to the great lakes region to the Tazara rail line in Kasama’s Nseluka area.
The other would extend from Kafue into Zimbabwe through to the port of Beira in Mozambique.