Thursday, June 13, 2024

Zambia’s Railway Infrastructure Must Be Upgraded Before Introducing Electric Trains- Minister of Transport


Minister of Transport and Logistics, Frank Tayali, has emphasized the need for Zambia to improve its current railway infrastructure before considering the introduction of electric trains. While several African countries have successfully implemented electric rail lines as part of their commitment to reducing carbon emissions, Zambia must first focus on revitalizing its existing railway companies, such as Zambia Railways and Tazara. Minister Tayali highlighted the importance of establishing an effective and efficient rail system, indicating that the government is actively seeking investment and collaborating with China to rehabilitate and commercialize Tazara.

Countries like Tanzania, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have made significant progress in implementing electric trains. Tanzania, for example, recently launched electric trains on the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro route after awarding a contract to a Turkish firm to build a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). An electric locomotive is powered by electricity from overhead power cables, a third rail, or an onboard battery energy storage system. These developments have allowed these countries to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable transportation system.

Minister Tayali emphasized the importance of prioritizing the rehabilitation and improvement of Zambia Railways before considering the introduction of electric trains. The Ministry of Transport is actively working on strategies to revamp the existing railway infrastructure, recognizing that an effective and efficient rail system is crucial for the country’s development. Talks are underway with the Chinese government, who have shown interest in restoring Tazara to a commercialized level. China, as the original founding partner of the rail project, is willing to contribute to the rehabilitation and commercialization of Tazara, which would enhance connectivity and facilitate the movement of cargo and passengers from Zambia to the east coast of Tanzania.

Minister Tayali highlighted the geographic advantage of Zambia, positioned as a natural hub for neighboring countries. The improvement of railway connectivity would not only benefit Zambia but also contribute to the development agendas of neighboring countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). By creating an efficient rail network, Zambia can serve as a vital transportation link, facilitating trade and fostering regional integration.

The increasing demand for non-polluting and energy-efficient transportation has led to a growing market for electric locomotives worldwide. Electric trains emit significantly less carbon per passenger mile compared to diesel locomotives, resulting in reduced carbon emissions. This aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable modes of transportation.


  1. Just for how long can we first focus on revitalizing existing railway companies, such as Zambia Railways and Tazara? We ve been hearing this news for 40 years. Right now we should focus on constructing a railine to Solwezi and to Zambezi onto Lobito. We are already late

  2. Zesco is still trying to work on a backlog of new connections and you are talking of electric trains. Really laughable.

  3. I don’t think this minister is serious. Perhaps he is a very young man who doesn’t know what we had before. At least get us to where we were before you start dreaming. Isn’t he even ashamed? Tanzania was the underdog compared to us when we formed Tazara.

  4. Road transport is very profitable. Every big fish has a fleet of trucks that haul goods. Making the rail competitiveness would drop their investment. How long has Kavindele’s dream of Kabompo Railways stalled?

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