15 April 2014

Zimbabwe: NRZ Scouts for Investors

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe is scouting for investors to partner it in the construction of rail link between Lion's Den near Chinhoyi and Kafue in Zambia as it seeks to create a shorter transit route for traffic to and from Mozambican sea ports.

At the moment Zimbabwe is not linked to Zambia with a rail line in the northern border resulting in goods from Mozambique taking the circuitous route to Bulawayo and then to Victoria Falls before getting to Zambia, a distance of more than 1 000 kilometres.

In an interview, NRZ Acting General Manager, Engineer Lewis Mukwada, said the rail link would also serve as an alternative route for traffic from seaports in South Africa to Zambia and many other countries north of the country.

"The railway line from Harare towards Zambia currently terminates at Lion's Den and will need to be extended to join the Livingstone-Lusaka railway line at the nearest point, which is Kafue," he said.

Mr Mukwada said a plausible approach would be to realign the route to the existing state highway linking Lion's Den to Chirundu and to Kafue. He said the project would likely to stimulate industrial growth in Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which he said shared immense of trade relationships.

"It will also reduce the costs of trans-shipments in Harare and Lion's Den," added Mr Mukwada.

He said the cost of the project was still under consideration. Funding has been a major problem for the company. In the long run, the parastatal requires an excess of $2 billion to recapitalise.

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