Shamiso Dzingire, Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has reported a steady increase in its cargo volumes since leasing equipment in February under the $400 million Diaspora Infrastructure Development (DIDG)/Transnet Consortium interim solution deal.
The agreement has seen the parastatal leasing equipment from Transnet as a stop gap measure to cover resource constraints while awaiting finalisation of the $400 million recapitalisation agreement, which will see the organisation receiving new equipment of its own.
The NRZ received its interim solution equipment at an event that was attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and top business executives in Bulawayo. The first batch of the equipment was deployed for operations on March 29. NRZ public relations officer Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the organisation’s freight volumes have been positively increasing in the first three months of operation.
“In the three months from April to June that the interim solution equipment has been in operation, the NRZ has moved 856 476 tonnes of cargo, an increase of 13,5 percent from the same period last year when 754 404 tonnes were moved,” he said.
“During the first month of the interim solution equipment’s operation in April, freight volumes went up by 18,4 percent to 215 063 tonnes from 181 585 tonnes carried in March.”
In May, Mr Maravanyika said, the company moved 305 345 tonnes, an increase of 41,9 percent from the previous month while freight volumes rose by 10 percent to 336 068 tonnes in June.
The NRZ is leasing nine class 34 locomotives, four class 43 locomotives and 200 wagons as well as 34 passenger coaches of which seven have been received so far.
“The wagons were put to dedicated use for chrome exports from the Zimbabwe Iron and Mining Company (Zimasco) Kildonan in Mashonaland Central and Zimasco Kwekwe to Maputo,” he said.
NRZ embarked on a $400 million recapitalisation project with DIDG/Transnet Consortium under which it will acquire rolling stock, signalling equipment and Information Communication Technology equipment to increase capacity utilisation.
NRZ has the capacity to move over 18 million tonnes of freight a year but is currently moving just over three million tonnes and the recapitalisation programme is expected to see a further gradual and sustained increase in freight volumes. — @ShamisoDzingire