ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT is expected to sign a statutory instrument that will compel the transporters to ferry certain amount of cargo onto the rail to cushion the damage on roads.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba is hopeful that the discussions with various industry players, which are currently underway, are likely to be concluded next month.
In an interview recently, Mr Mushimba said Government will continue to invest in both the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to boost the operations of the two service providers.
“We have injected over US$120 million from the Eurobond into ZRL and it has drastically improved the company’s operations. We have now started engaging transporters of bulk cargo to move on rail…we feel the rail sector has started going the right direction in terms of efficiency, speed and security.
“ZRL train speed was as low as 10kilometre [km] per hour but has since increased to over 50km/hour at the speed that the market can appreciate to move their cargo. So, when we talk about the SI to move certain cargo off the road, there will be an incentive for the market to actually move onto rail. But we will not force them,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said Government will continue conducting more investment studies to help the sector increase efficiencies.