Zim rail freight volumes rise

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s national rail freight volumes are rising ever since government — with the help from the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group and Transnet (DIDG-Transnet) — started rebuilding the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

Rail freight volumes rose by 13,5 percent year-on-year to

856 476 tonnes of cargo in the first three months from 754 404 tonnes recorded in the first three months of last year.

This comes after the mothballed NRZ took delivery of 120 freight wagons, 14 locomotives and 24 coaches under a $400 million deal with South African logistics group Transnet.

This comes after negotiations between the NRZ and Transnet — which won the bid jointly with DIDG, a group of Zimbabwean investors living abroad — were completed in December last year.

Under the $400m deal, the NRZ is leasing equipment from Transnet as a stop gap measure to cover resource constraints while awaiting finalisation of the recapitalisation agreement which will see the organisation receiving new equipment of its own.

The Interim Solution Equipment arrived in February with NRZ only starting to use it in April as some formalities had to be completed first.

NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika said the organisation has been experiencing a steady increase in its cargo movement since the deployment of Interim Solution Equipment at the beginning of April 2018.

“In the three months from April to June... the NRZ has moved 856 476 tonnes of cargo, an increase of 13,5 percent from the same period last year when 754 404 tonnes were moved,” NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika

“During the first month of the ISE’s operation in April, freight volumes went up by 18,4 percent to 215 063 tonnes from 181 585 tonnes carried in March. In May, the company moved 305 345 tonnes, an increase of 41,9 percent from the previous month. In June, freight volumes rose by 10 percent to 336 068 tonnes.”

The NRZ is leasing nine class 34 locomotives, four class 43 locomotives and 200 wagons as well as 34 passenger coaches — of which only seven have been received so far.

The wagons were put to dedicated use for chrome exports from the Zimbabwe Iron and Mining Company (Zimasco) Kildonan in Mashonaland Central and Zimasco Kwekwe to Maputo.

The first batch of leased equipment was deployed for NRZ operations on March 29, 2018 after reaching an agreement on the commercial terms with Transnet and clearing the equipment with Zimra.

NRZ is embarking on a $400 million recapitalisation project with DIDG/Transnet Consortium, under which it will acquire rolling stock, signalling equipment and Information Communication Technology equipment to increase capacity utilisation.

The NRZ system has a design capacity to move over 18 million tonnes of freight a year but is currently moving just over 3 million tonnes and the recapitalisation programme is expected to see a gradual and sustained increase in freight volumes.

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