15 August 2017

Zambia: Freight Traffic to Hit 12 Million Tonnes

The Zambian freight traffic market share is projected to grow to 12 million tonnes per year by 2018 from 10 million tonnes in 2014.

This is according to the Zambian National Transportation Master Plan final report which indicated that Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL's)forecast was to begin to move five million tonnes per year from 2018.

"This is quite an ambitious plan, which implies reaching about 42 per cent market share of freight traffic," the report indicated.

According to the report, ZRL strategic plan estimated that in order to attain the projected profit levels, it needed an investment of US$ 379 million.

"These funds are expected to be sourced with the help of Government and other cooperating partners, through public private partnerships (PPP)," the report stated.

The report indicated that the capital needed was mainly in rolling stock where ZRL intended to procure 2,600 wagons and new GT locomotives.

It stated that operations would be boosted with the latest technology in rail transport and also lead to a safer railway network.

"The most important issue facing the railway sector is its lacking ability to compete with road transport, this is as a result of low quality of service which is directly affected maintenance.

"Up to 2017 the annual maintenance budget for ZRL is only US$ 5 million which is not enough to provide acceptable level of service," the report stated.

The report states that international best practice recommended a conservative maintenance rate of two per cent of the total value of infrastructure per year.

"The consultant estimated that the total value of ZRL mainline at approximately US$ 2 billion, meaning that the annual maintenance budget should be US$ 40 million," it stated.

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