10 December 2012

Zambia: Tazara, ZRL Seal Support Deal

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

TANZANIA Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at providing for the enhancement of co-operation between the two railways.

TAZARA managing director Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and ZRL managing director Clive Chirwa signed the MoU at the weekend.

Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said the meeting with his ZRL counterpart advanced the process of defining and mapping out the strategy on how best to smoothen and expand rail transportation across countries, with the aim to better facilitating trade and development in Southern and Eastern Africa.

"The signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Zambia Railways and TAZARA will be followed by a comprehensive agreement on business cooperation and implementation arrangements," Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said.

This is according to a statement released by TAZARA public relations manager Conrad Simuchile.

Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika expressed gratitude at Prof Chirwa's encouraging contribution towards a renewed and reinvigorated chapter in the relationship between the twin railway systems, following the decision by the Government of Zambia to revoke the concession of ZRL.

He affirmed that TAZARA was committed and eager to cooperate with ZRL to determine and implement the progressive and good business goal of proving railway customers with a seamless service between Lubumbashi and Dar- es-Salaam.

And Prof Chirwa during the signing ceremony accepted TAZARA's invitation to travel later this month to Dar-es-Salaam for the next round of discussions, where the main business agreement will be finalised and signed, together with agreements for operational arrangements.

The two chief executive officers are later expected to meet with their counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to bring the Congolese Railway Systems on board with the joint efforts to increase the rail market share on the Dar-es-Salaam Corridor from the current unsatisfactorily low 10 per cent to 40 per cent within the shortest possible time.

This is a proposition being passed on from a business meeting held in Dar-es-Salaam a few weeks ago, at which senior officers of ZRL and TAZARA agreed to join efforts and resources towards reviving and enhancing rail traffic levels on the Dar-es-Salaam Corridor and providing customers with better services.

The objective is for the railway systems to allow each other's locomotives and wagons into each other's railway spheres, when it makes business sense and when it is in the interest of customers.

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