Zambia Railways scouts for partners

ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) is looking for partnerships to manufacture railway slippers under a public private partnership (PPPs) to ensure reliable supply.
Company chief executive officer Muyenga Atanga (right) said the railway firm wants to venture in a PPP arrangement to reduce on high importation costs.
Professor Atanga said currently, ZRL imports railway slippers from South Africa at a high cost while local supply is not assured due to constant delays in the supply of the product by the local railway slipper manufacturing firm.
“It costs K334 to procure one slipper from the railway slipper plant in Kafue, but it takes three months to get the supply and buying one  slipper from the subsidiary in South Africa costs over K680 and it takes a month. So, ZRL is looking at PPP arrangements so that we can produce our own slippers,” Prof Atanga said.
He said when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on estimates last Friday that reliable supply of railway slippers remains a challenge in the region.
Prof Atanga said the high importation cost and unreliable supply by local firms are undermining the company’s goal of ensuring efficiency in rail transport.
He said the company requires 665,000 railway slippers to cover the main line between Livingstone and Kitwe with ZRL installing only 279,000 slippers.
He, however, said the installation of 279,000 railway slippers has resulted in increased passenger train transit time to 24 hours between Livingstone and Kitwe from 52 hours and cargo train speed to 45 hours from 56 hours.

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