Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba with Officials from Zambia Railways
Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba with Officials from Zambia Railways

Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba has signed a Statutory Instrument to compel transporters of heavy cargo to move 30 percent of bulk cargo from road to railway which will take effect within 30 days.

The new SI will take effect after 30 days.

Some of the heavy bulk cargo that are expected to be transported onto the railway include copper, copper and cobalt concentrates, sugar, coal, cement, sulphur, fuel and among other heavy bulk cargo.

Mr. Mushimba said in a bid to optimise the transport sector and promote the sustainability of rail subsector, the Government has signed an IS which will make it mandatory for all transporters of bulk and heavy cargo to shift 30 per cent of the cargo to rail.

“It has taken a long time to come to where it today….this is a statutory instrument that is going to mandate about 30 per cent heavier bulk cargo in the country to move from road to rail. This is the process that started a year ago when we called the first consultative meeting with the stakeholders which include mining houses, those that transport fertilizers, coal and many other bulky commodities,” Mr Mushimba said.

He said the implementation of the quota system will lead to the preservation of the road infrastructure, the will be guaranteed volumes of cargo and increased revenue and efficiency in the railway operations.

Mr. Mushimba explained that the Government would set up a monitoring and evaluation team that will work closely with other stakeholders such as the Zambia Revenue Authority, Zambia Weights and Measures Agency, Zambia Chamber of Mines and other trade organisations to ensure effective implementation of the SI.

“With this SI in place Zambia Railways Limited and TAZARA are expected to be the main beneficially of this as they will now move 30 per cent of this cargo …and I would like to assure the nation that the two companies have the capacity,” he said.

“You may wish to know that the rail sub-sector is designed to ferry huge volumes of bulk and heavy cargo through short and long distances. Among other pros, rail transport poses minimal environmental externalities in comparison to other modes of transport such as the road,” Mr. Mushimba said.

He said the huge and unregulated shift to road has triggered an increase in the utilisation of the road transport causing damage to the road infrastructure, increased road carnages, traffic congestion, pollution to the environment and Increased road maintenance costs and consequently reducing the useful life of the roads to approximately five years.

And Zambia Railway Board Chairperson Lubinda Linyama said, “this has been a long road leading up today when we have concluded this process. This is one of the milestones we were given by the Ministry and the Government that we will enhance and revitalize the railway system so that we can reclaim our role in the transport sector so it challenge.”

Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba
Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba
Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba Signing the SI
Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba Signing the SI
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24 COMMENTS

    • Zambian trains move at 40km/hour average speed, pushing the speed up will be a plus.

      What happened to our previous leaders? were they also sleeping like wilson kaumba for the PF to come and realise now that train is of essence .

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  1. Refreshing to see young bright guys taking up leadership roles like Lubinda, Mr. Chairman. Very good, young man, your whole future is ahead of you. Good work honorable.

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    • Theirs No future in PF, except for in prison after 2021.
      These guys should be construction new prisons, not those mansion they cant afford with their salary.

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  2. Progressive. Excellent Honorable Mushimba. You are living up to the expectations we had in you.

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  3. This is an uninformed decision. the rail systems in Zambia are unreliable, they lack capacity and security. These guys are doing everything to suffocate the free movement of goods and services.

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  4. These are decisions you must be prioritising and not fire tenders or is it wheelbarrows and airlines without a business case….

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  5. Thank you. This is long overdue. The aim should be to scale this up eventually to about 60%. This can be achieved by investing in upgrading the rail infrastructure bit by bit.

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  6. This measure will impact negatively on transporters businesses..As they will loose out on some cargo that could have been carried by there trucks.Are we not in a free market economy Bwana Minister?Just recently you ban trucks together with Buses from moving at Night,all because of of Buses which were reportedly having accidents..now it’s this other SI you have come with.Will Truck transport in Zambia ever make any lucrative business?

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  7. It is not simply about the train also carrying some cargo. We need to realize that our country has the oldest of trains in the world which have breakdowns almost every 200 kilometers they travel and at the most unusual pick they travel at the maximum speed of 70k/h. Allowing them 30% of cargo would translate into 30% of lost economy.

    We should have firstly worked on the railway line and then acquire modern and efficient trains that can cope with modern business demands.

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    • Properly utilized, the Eurobond allocation would have taken care of both – but the Board had other ideas.

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  8. Better move would be to partially privatise the railway and get private sector involved in the management.

    Otherwise government inefficiency snd tbe usual civil service attitute to work will scupper well intended measures

    How much fuel, sugar, cement will get stolen. Your tyres, fuel, side mirrors, get stolen from police stations, imagine your cargo in the states hands. Cartels with connections move in.

    If rail was cheaper, more reliable and efficient, SI was not needed.

    What if rail is much more expensive than road transport ?

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  9. This is a good move. In fact, it should have been 60% of the cargo! I only fear for this minister, if this was not agreed upon then he is going. Probably he is the only one without trucks on the road.

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  10. Busy regulating when others are deregulating. In any case, our rail transport in its current form lacks efficiency.

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  11. “With this SI in place Zambia Railways Limited and TAZARA … have the capacity,” Mr. Mushimba said. Yes, they have the capacity by the stroke of his pen! Even after the stripping of rail lines between some towns, he says they have the capacity…! And never mind the constant work stoppages at TAZARA, they have the capacity! Lol.

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  12. What form of transport will collect the heavy goods from factory to the train depot and then what form of transport to collect goods from discharge rail point, yes, trucks. You will actually increase the cost of transportation because of the additional handling, what timetables are in place, what discharge points are for the rail system. How do you maintain checks onmthe 30% figure when it is admitted by govt that they cannot accurately ascertain what the mines are exporting. So by the ministers statement he is saying that the use of the copperbelt to lusaka road will be reduced by 30% even though we are spending $1.2 billion on an upgrade to thst road .

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    • Double handling, is there enough wagons available? , speed of train much slower than truck, rail head ends in kafue for transport to Churundu and only to Livingston for transport to Kuzungula on to Botswana. What about theft in rail yards? what about truck drivers jobs?. Currently rail yards small and unable to store the shipments. If rail was a good way to go then it would be used years ago. rail lines worst than roads
      This will become a price fixed transport where trucks discount. As always no thought put into it by uneducated fools in Gov’t. If this was phased in over 5 yrs maybe it would could work

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  13. Double handling, is there enough wagons available? , speed of train much slower than truck, rail head ends in kafue for transport to Churundu and only to Livingston for transport to Kuzungula on to Botswana. What about theft in rail yards? what about truck drivers jobs?. Currently rail yards small and unable to store the shipments. If rail was a good way to go then it would be used years ago. rail lines worst than roads
    This will become a price fixed transport where trucks discount. As always no thought put into it by uneducated in Gov’t. If this was phased in over 5 yrs maybe it would could work

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  14. No need for SI. Just fix the rail transport and everyone will automatically shift to it. In fact 100%. Otherwise the economy will be stifled. Took a walk along the rail line. Could not believe what I saw. ALL the sleepers were cracked. Then I saw a train pass and the wagons looked like they had just new picked salvaged from a salvage yard.

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  15. Good move, But you first need to ensure that there’s a good rail system in place first. Am sure if there was an option of rail in the first place there would have been no need of the SI because rail is much cheaper. And please involve technocrats like Clive chirwa so that you don’t come up with 18th century wagons.

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