The first train on the Chipata-Mchinji railway line will start operating in two weeks time.
The railway line which remained non-operational for over 30 years will in the next two weeks see its first 210 metric tonnes cargo leave Chipata to the port of Nacala in Mozambique.
Zambia Railways Director for the Nacala Corridor Vyonsi Manda said the railway line is this year expected transport 300 metric tonnes of goods.
Mr Manda explained that the train will carry a consignment of 150 metric tonnes of lithium ole from Chipata to Nacala and 120 metric tonnes of fertilizer from Nacala to Chipata.
“We have so far secured 270 metric tonnes and we are only remaining with 30 metric tonnes from the target of 300 metric tonnes,” he said.
Mr Manda noted that the company has so far received 51 out of the 250 expected wagons on the Chipata-Mchinji Nacala corridor which have since already arrived in Chipata.
He added that one out of the six locomotives is also in the district in readiness for the train to start operations.
Mr. Manda disclosed that the company has signed transport agreements with various business entities aimed at using the train to transport their goods.
And Mr. Manda has maintained that the railway station has the capacity to provide the needed storage space for the cargo that will pass through the station, adding that 80 percent of the cargo will be containerized.
He also expressed sadness with the security issues at the railway station.
He noted that people from the surrounding communities have continued to flock to the railway trucks without taking in to consideration their safety as they visit the station.
Mr. stated that it is for this reason that his company is planning to hold a meeting with the surrounding communities on the need to sensitize them on safety matters.
He further disclosed that the goods train speed has been restricted to 30 kilometers per hour and will be escorted with security personnel in order to enhance safety along the corridor.
He stated that due to this speed limit the train will be taking four days for the whole journey.