Harare — The multimillion-dollar recapitalisation of the Zimbabwean railway programme after a historical transaction between a South African-Zimbabwean consortium and the local rail parastatal is poised to strengthen regional integration and trade.
The US$400-million transaction for the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will contribute to the realisation of the north-south corridor programme of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc.
Transnet Ltd-Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) Consortium on Wednesday delivered rolling stock to the NRZ, which would contribute to the region's plans to perform an uninterrupted intra-trade and efficient railway system cementing Transnet's Africa strategy which would see railway, terminal and ports integration throughout the continent.
DIDG has entered into a six-month lease agreement for the rolling stock. The agreement, renewable on demand, will address Zimbabwe's immediate railway capacity shortfalls.
Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and members of his cabinet have witnessed the presence of Transnet's rolling stock including seven locomotives, 151 wagons, five passenger coaches, a kitchen car and power car.
Other stock to follow include 24 mainline locomotives, ten new locomotive shunters, 13 shunters to be refurbished, 200 general purpose wagons, 768 wagons to be refurbished and 162 new passenger coaches.
Siyabonga Gama, Transnet Group Chief Executive, said the nature of the contract highlighted the company's commitment to collaborate and grow its footprint on the continent, Middle East and South Asia.
"This is not only a historical event but a key economic contribution to the milestones set out for Zimbabwe," Gama said.
The delivery of new and refurbished rolling stock will be finalised and announced in the near future as DIDG Consortium and Zimbabwe authorities conclude all the required governance processes and agreements.