by Business reporter
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) intends to increase its carrying capacity from the current tonnage of 2.7 per year to more than 4.4 million per year in three years, Harare Post has learnt.
This was revealed by the NRZ board Chair, Martin Dinha at an inaugural railway safety week held last week under the theme “Railway Safety starts with me. Stop Look, Listen and Save Lives.”
At its peak, the NRZ used to move 14 million tonnes per year, a target which analysts say can still be attained if recapitalisation is done.
Dinha expressed displeasure at the parent ministry’s decision to reallocate NRZ’s budgetary vote to other institutes such as ZINARA. The Chairman said they had earmarked the allocation to source the US$2 million needed as commitment fee for the importation of 100 wagons under vendor financing from Uniwagon of Russia.
Dinha also decried the unregulated mining activities near the railway lines and beneath it saying those activities were affecting the safety of the rail industry in Zimbabwe. He cited gold panning in Chegutu, Kwekwe, Shamva, Esigodini and Kadoma saying they reduced speed and tonnage of trains.
Acting Chief Director in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Irene Dhoka Micheal expressed concern at the deplorable state of NRZ infrastructure and said the ministry was pursuing financing options to resuscitate NRZ after the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) deal was cancelled.
The event was also attended by members of the Southern Africa Railway Association (SARA) which adopted the railway safety week in its Annual General Meeting of 2019. SARA is working on modalities to set up a regional railway regulator which will focus on promoting sustainability of the regional rail sector, set safety operational and infrastructural standards within the sector.