Zambia is adamant that current financial challenges will not adversely affect their planned Railway network investments.
On February 3rd, 2017 Christopher Musonda the Chief Executive Officer at Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) announced that a transport agreement had been signed with Chrissie Moloseni, the Chief Financial Officer at Lafarge Zambia. The agreement is expected to not only encourage more sustainable development in the country but also reduce the currently high costs of maintaining the country’s heavily over used road network because all the copper will be transported by rail in the future.
The new network will also in turn resolve a number of the current transportation challenges faced by the mining companies located in the North-Western province of Zambia, as well as ultimately create a 360-mile rail link running between Zambia and Angola.
Commitments made during the signing ceremony in Chilanga
During the ceremony which took place at the Lafarge Zambia Head Office in Chilanga, Chrissie Moloseni reiterated their renewed focus on optimizing alternative methods of transport to relieve the current pressure on the local road networks.She also assured investors and businesses that the project would not only be a long term commitment but that it would also ensure that all Health and Safety regulations were fully adhered to at all times during the project, specifically and most importantly during the construction stages.
Phase one of the Zambia Railway project
Phase one of the railway network project will connect the majority of the major working mines in Zambia, enabling significantly easier transportation of all cargo both to and from the mines. Whilst there is currently a funding gap quoted by some to be as much as $152 million, phase one of the project is expected to start imminently thanks to a recent investment of $12 million from the North-Western Rail Company.
North-Western Rail Company inv estment
Enoch Kavindele the Chairperson of the North-Western Rail Company has said, “We have taken delivery of a crusher which we are now assembling in Solwezi as well as a rail track sleepers manufacturing plant. At the crusher, we will employ about 100 local people,”, he then added “With regard to the routes we have done about 65 per cent of the route the idea is that Government will introduce a Statutory Instrument (SI) stating that all heavy cargo should now use rail instead of roads this has affected the operations of the mines in North-Western hence the need for us to expedite our works,”. He went on to reiterate that the transportation of copper on the new rail network is incredibly important to not only reduce the damage and pressure on the roads but also dramatically improve productivity as well as create a very significant number of both temporary and permanent jobs.
The project in its entirety is expected to cost a total of $1.2 billion, employee over 8,000 people during the period of construction and over 3,000 on its completion.
Pictures : zrl.com.zm and zambiainvest.com