5 December 2012

Zambia: 'Good Railway Traffic Strategy Needed'

Photo: David Hecht/IRIN
Tanzania in agreement with DR Congo and Zambia to harmonize railway transportation (file photo).

THE Zambia Freight and Forwarders Association (ZAFFA) has said there is need for a change of management approach and good marketing strategy to improve traffic movement on railway.

ZAFFA president Emmanuel Mutale said in an interview that there was need for change of management style if the system was to attract more customers to railway.

Mr Mutale said it was important that traffic was diverted from road to railway because the road network was easily damaged as traffic from neighbouring countries had to pass through Zambia, it being centrally located.

He said ZAFFA had always advocated the transfer of traffic from road to railway, which he said would save the road infrastructure from damage.

"Once traffic is diverted from road to rail, there will be no congestion on the borders and that is why as ZAFFA, we are calling on Government to divert traffic," Mr Mutale said.

Mr Mutale also said it would also be easy to account for copper exports because there would be proper documentation.

He said currently, about 250 to 300 trucks crossed the borders per day, meaning that when more customers were attracted to the railway system, the direction of traffic to road would be easily controlled.

Mr Mutale also said once the traffic was diverted from road to rail, the landed cost of imported goods by rail would be cheaper.

Mr Mutale called on TAZARA and other relevant stakeholders to start discussing modalities of coming up with marketing strategies to improve the system.

Mr Mutale said this was so because once the rehabilitation was done, it would call for vigorous marketing campaign strategies to attract more customers to the system.

Mr Mutale said currently, only 15 per cent of imports into Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the port of Dar-es-salaam was allocated to rail out of which only five per cent were container loads, while the rest of Cargo was on the roads.

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