TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE construction of the US$2.3 billion Chipata-Petauke-Serenje railway line that will enhance Zambia’s regional trade and transport competitiveness, is expected to start mid this year.
The project will provide an alternative trade route to the east coast of Africa via the port of Nacala in Mozambique and will create about 8,000 direct jobs during the construction period.
Government has since engaged China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to construct the project, according to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report by the Ministry of Transport and Communication submitted to Zambia Environmental Management Agency and obtained by the Daily Mail yesterday.
The project will be an important part of the integrated southern African transportation system, which connects Zambia with Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Mozambique.
“Government through the Ministry of Transport and Communication proposes to construct a 388.8 kilometres railway line from Chipata via Petauke to Serenje. The project will link Zambia’s eastern part to the north.
“The construction of the project will be completed in four years starting mid -2017 after all the approvals are obtained,” the report reads.
It says the project will provide the much-needed link between the local main railway line networks with the Malawian through the existing Chipata-Mchinji railway line, which form part of the Nacala Corridor.
The railway line will also enable Government to save funds used on rehabilitation of damaged roads due to haulage of bulk and heavy cargo.
The EIA highlights the project’s importance of project as it promote Zambia’s trade, investment, employment and sustainable development and open another route to the sea.
The take-off point of the project is from Chipata at the Zambia Railway Line Station and will connect with the TAZARA Railway line at Serenje Station.