Sata spells out ZRL plans

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—Government has spelled out its plans to reposition Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to be the leading bulk and heavy cargo transport company in Zambia.

“Today, I wish to share with you our Government’s progress on the repositioning of ZRL,”
President Michael Sata stated on his face book page, “that with the pumping of US$120 million into the company by our Government, major rehabilitation works of the track, rolling stock and signalling system are being undertaken as from September 2013 to 2015”.

The Head of State cited some of the successes his government has scored in repositioning ZRL as the hauling of more than 749,165 tonnes in 2013, the signing of 2014 business contracts worth 1.3 million tonnes and the opening of the Beira and Botswana routes which will increase traffic for ZRL.

President Sata stated that his government managed to achieve to attain about K231.5 million revenue for 2013, net income of K41 million managed to revive the inter mine operations which had collapsed during the time the ZRL was in a private hands and hauled 37,895 tonnes in 2013.

Mr Sata disclosed that his government managed the signing of through booking and access trains operations agreement for Nacala Corridor which will allow ZRL to commence operations on March 1, 2014, and added that ZRL took-over operations of Mulobezi railway track on   January 1, 2014, which will be rehabilitated and new rolling stock will also be procured.

He revealed that ZRL procured 95,941 concrete sleepers for its track rehabilitation programme which he said has resulted in the installation of 37,777 new concrete sleepers.

The Head of State further revealed that government will undertake the track rehabilitation programmes in Livingstone, Choma, Monze, Kafue, Lusaka, Chisamba, Kabwe, Kapiri, Kafulafuta, Ndola, Kitwe and Chingola.

"The future of ZRL looks very bright as a lot of business opportunities exist in the market which include the growth of the mining and construction industries as well as the increase in the export of cement and sugar among others.

“It is envisaged that once the track rehabilitation programme is complete, the rail track
infrastructure capacity will be increased to 8 million metric tonnes and the rolling stock to 3 million tonnes," stated President Sata.

He said his government’s decision to recapitalize ZRL was, therefore, correct and of enormous benefit to the country.