The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has dispatched an engineer to South Africa to conduct a due diligence study on five U30 mainline locomotives that are to be hired soon.
This is in order to boost the haulage capacity to meet the huge demand expected to be created by the Railway (Transportation of Heavy Goods) Regulation that was recently passed in Zambia by the Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba.
The Authority is further awaiting shareholders’ approval for an Open Access Agreement with a private railway operator that has already started conducting trial runs between Ndola and Dar es Salaam.
Tazara Managing Director Eng. Bruno Ching’andu, says the decision to hire extra locomotives and engage private operators in Open Access is meant to increase capacity to adequately handle the positive response from the market, especially in view of the passing of the Statutory Instrument that compels manufacturers in Zambia to channel 30% of bulky traffic to the railways.
“We are elated by the measures taken by the Zambian Government through the Minister of Transport and Communications and, in this regard, these immediate steps we are taking are meant to assure the public and the business community of our readiness to meet the anticipated demand on our services”, said Eng. Ching’andu.
In August 2017, his institution signed an Open Access Agreement with Zambia Railways Limited and signed an MoU with another private railway operator, Calabash freight Limited, following the go-ahead granted by its shareholders in 2015 allowing the company to engage private operators in order to maximize usage of the line.
“Everything has fallen into place and we are glad to be at the edge of some very positive developments in railway haulage,” said Eng. Chingandu.
This is according to a press statement issued to ZANIS by TAZARA Head of Public Relations Conrad Simuchile in Lusaka today.