TANZANIA Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has managed to transport all the 17,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania to Zimbabwe within the given prescribed time of three months.
The last consignment of maize that Zimbabwe bought from Tanzania was flagged of at Kapiri Mposhi district in Zambia last week.
During the event, TAZARA Managing Director Mr Bruno Ching'andu thanked President John Magufuli for the opportunity his authority was given to transport the tonnage.
"As TAZARA, and speaking on behalf of other two partner railways, I sincerely thank president Magufuli for giving us the opportunity to move the maize from Tanzania to Zimbabwe, the task that we have managed to finish even before the specified period of three months" he said.
Mr Ching'andu said his staff had to work around the clock to make sure that the maize reach Zimbabwe on time, to feed millions of people who were facing food shortage in that country.
"We allocated 100 wagons to transport the maize, and the other two railways also allocated a total of 100 wagons. We moved the cargo within the required time frame," said Ching'andu, thanking the governments of Tanzania and Zimbabwe for supporting TAZARA by showing confidence in its ability to handle the consignment.
In September this year, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) signed a contract with Zambian and Zimbabwean railway authorities to transport 17,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania to Zimbabwe.
TAZARA, Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) signed a joint contract with the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) of Zimbabwe to transport the 17,000 tonnes of maize from Makambako and Vwawa in southern Tanzania to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
Under the agreed terms, TAZARA transported the maize from Makambako and Vwawa and relayed it to ZRL at New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia that passed it to NRZ at Livingstone for final delivery to various destinations in Zimbabwe.
Tanzania decided to export 700,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe after an El Ninoinduced drought wilted crops and the sale is expected to stimulate trade between the two nations. Early this year, the UN estimated that about a third of Zimbabwe's 15 million people were in need of food assistance.
According to president Magufuli, Tanzania had surplus maize this year after harvesting 16 million tonnes, when demand was only around 13 million tonnes.
An appeal document which was given to reporters by Zimbabwe's Ministry of Information showed the government of that country needed $300 million in aid for food while the rest would fund emergency shelters, logistics and telecommunications among other needs.
TAZARA is bi-national railway jointly owned by the governments of Tanzania and Zambia on a 50-50 shareholding basis.
The 1,860km-railway connects landlocked Zambia to the seaport of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and further provides road and railway inter-connectivity to other parts of southern Africa.