Botswana Railways Limited (BRL) has welcomed the Zambian Government’s decision to move 30 per cent of the cargo from the roads to rail.
BRL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Leonard Makwinja, says the state of roads justifies the decision by the Zambian Government to move heavy cargo from roads to rail for the safety of the people.
ZANIS reports that Mr Makwinja said this during a joint media briefing with Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christopher Musonda held at Shitima House in Kabwe today.
He says currently it is difficult to maintain the roads in the country because of the heavy traffic and the decision to move 30 per cent of the cargo from the roads to rail is welcome.
He disclosed that BRL is excited with the decision by the Zambian government and hope it will be able to assist since there is already a railway route from Bulawayo through Francis Town in Botswana onwards to South Africa.
Mr Makwinja who was accompanied by BRL Director of Business Development Steven Makuke, Operations Manager Mthulisi Lotshe and Technical Assistant to the CEO Edwin Machola was in the country on invitation by his Zambian counterpart to explore areas of collaboration in the locomotive industry.
Meanwhile, Mr Makwinja says BRL is enjoying good support from the Tswana government to develop a railway line that will join the Kazungula Bridge.
He says his organisation is moving fast in that direction and already doing the final studies and designs adding that the constructions are expected to commence within one year.
Mr Makwinja observed that the construction of the rail line up to the border with Zambia at Kazungula will be a game changer of the rail network in the region and expected to improve the movement freight and people.
And Mr Makwinja says Zambia has a lot of goods that can move by rail to Botswana especially the maize bran and molasses.
He says the Botswana is a cattle country but has been experiencing droughts year in and year out and needs the maize products as feed for the animals.
Speaking earlier, Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Christopher Musonda, said the Statutory Instrument (SI) that was issued by the government and has since been passed into law has put pressure on the rail industry.
Mr Musonda said as such there is need to create capacity as a way of responding to the 30 per cent increase of cargo to rail and that this requires discussions with the neighbouring railways.
He said the two entities have discussed areas related to the capacities of exchange of equipment such as locomotive wagons and areas of collaborations have been identified.
Mr Musonda said the two parties also looked at what commodities can be transiting between the two countries.
He further said particular attention was paid to how BRL manages assets such as land and buildings and was happy that the sister company had a model that can help address the issue of encroachment.