ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) has announced that the long awaited Chipata-Mchinji Railway would begin operations by March this year.
ZRL Nacala director Vyonsi Manda said yesterday that his company had set monthend of March to begin operationalising the long awaited railway line.
“Our target is that we should start operating the Chipata-Mchinji Railway line by March 2014 although our target was June this year,”Mr Manda said.
He said so far, four wagons have arrived at the Chipata railway station from Kabwe in Central Province.
He explained that twelve more wagons would arrive tomorrow while 28 more would be in by the weekend.
Mr Manda said the Chipata–Mchinji Railway line was the nearest to the Nacala port in Mozambique covering 1,150 kilometres while to Durban in South African was about 3,000 kilometres away.
“This route from Chipata to Nacala in Mozambique will take four days and some companies and government institutions have come on board to start using the railway line,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga said the province would be open up to the tourists because of the railway line.
He said South Luangwa National Park in Mfuwe would be mostly visited by the tourists due to the railway line.
Dr Mulenga appealed to the business community to support the infrastructure so that it remains viable during the operations.
He also appealed to the foreign investors to invest in Eastern Province because of the coming of the railway line.
Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI) chairperson Thomas Mtonga said the chamber was happy with the coming of the railway line.
The function was attended by Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique Growth Triangle (ZMMGT) member Zaudin Daya, ZRL Nacala regional manager Moses Sipumo among others.