Mines should use rail transport

THE business community says Government should consider formulating a policy that will compel all mining companies and transporters of heavy goods to use railway transportation to boost Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) revenue base.
Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president Geoffrey Sakulanda said the practice is also good for prolonging the life span of the roads.
Making submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Transport Works and Supply on Thursday, Mr Sakulanda said there is need for Government to resuscitate the ZRL due to the vital role it plays in the economic growth of the country.
In 2013, Government disbursed US$ 120 million to ZRL for the rehabilitation of locomotives and rolling stock.
Mr Sakulanda said railway transport has the capacity to facilitate for efficient movement of heavy cargo once it is recapitalised.
He said railway transport is a cheaper mode of movement of passengers and goods which enables low-income groups in the country to have access to markets and other amenities.
“Railway transport is a viable business which can bring about an efficient movement of goods around the country, it can also ease up the auto congestion being experienced in the country and can save users from costly fixed and incremental driving costs,” Mr Sakulanda said.
Mr Sakulanda said the railway infrastructure in the country, which is dilapidated, needs to be upgraded.
He further indicated that Government should consider electrifying the country’s railway system and invest into modern couches to make both the passenger and the goods trains faster.
“It is important to upgrade the Zambian railways and introduce local routes in the railway system. To make it more efficient, the railway should be electrified so that it can become more faster,” he said.
In addition, there is need for proper link between the railway and the road infrastructure in the country.

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