THE Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) announced an indefinite suspension of all train services between New Kapiri Mposhi and Nakonde Stations, following a strike by workers in Zambia.
TAZARA spokesman Conrad Simuchile said train services between Zambia and Tanzania were suspended indefinitely after unionised employees in Zambia went on strike, demanding payment of their unpaid salaries for October and November 2017.
The suspension will also affect transportation of copper to Dar es Salaam port. The line is an important route for copper exports from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa's top copper producer. "In the past few months, we have been transporting at least 7,000 tonnes of copper exports from DRC and Zambia per month," Simuchile told Reuters.
"In addition, we have been conveying at least 3,000 tonnes of steel and 10,000 tonnes of fertiliser imports destined for Zambia every month." In the 2015-16 financial year from July to June, Tazara's annual, total freight traffic reached 130,000 tonnes from 87,000 tonnes in 2014-15.
Mr Simuchile said the suspension of services implies that the Mukuba Express Train that was due to run from New Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam on Tuesday could not do that. He explained that similarly, the Kilimanjaro Ordinary Train that is currently running southbound from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi, would not proceed beyond Mbeya Station.
The Tazara railway is jointly owned by the governments of Tanzania and Zambia on a 50 - 50 basis.