State, Swedish firm talk ZRL boost

GOVERNMENT is in talks with Swedish firm Bombardier on a possible capital injection of about US$530 million into Zambia Railways Limited to make the railway company viable.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba said in an interview yesterday that the capital injection will result in the rehabilitation of railway tracks, wagons and locomotives to enable the railway company to increase its capacity to move more cargo.
“As Government, we need to revamp Zambia Railways Limited, and Bombardier wants to be an ally through an injection of US$530 million, which will go towards technical support and provision of equipment if we [Government] decide to go ahead with the Swedish firm,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said if the talks are successful with the firm, Zambia Railways Limited, which requires US$498 million for its revival, will be able to carry out the rehabilitation programme and boost its revenue.
He said Zambia Railways Limited currently records annual revenue of US$25 million but could increase its revenue to US$150 million annually.
Mr Mushimba also said Government is also engaging other development partners on the financing of the company.
He said Zambia Railways Limited’s capacity to transport goods and services, especially on the inter-mine routes, has been undermined by lack of adequate infrastructure.
“With proper infrastructure, Zambia Railways will be able to move copper and mining production inputs as well as other goods. This will also safeguard our roads as most of the equipment moved on the roads is heavy,” he said.

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