THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is targeting to move four million tonnes of freight in 2018, up 25% from last year’s figures on the back of service level agreements signed with key customers last year, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
NRZ public relations manager, Nyasha Maravanyika told NewsDay in an interview that in 2018, the parastatal is targeting to move four million tonnes of freight, buoyed by service level agreements it signed with major customers last year.
“In 2017, we had a target of 3,5 million tonnes and I think we were just around 3,2 million tonnes there. For 2018, we are targeting at least four million tonnes that is according to the budget that we have budgeted for. So we expect that we would be able to do those tonnes,” he said.
To meet its target, Maravanyika said NRZ has entered into public-private-partnerships (PPPs) with local and regional companies.
“Basically, I think you have seen us going into PPPs with private companies. We have already had one with Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railways (BBR), where we have an agreement from last year to overhaul 25 identified wagons, high-sided wagons,” he said.
“So BBR provides the material and we then do the overhauling in our workshops or refurbishment of those wagons. That’s one.”
Last year, NRZ signed a deal with Zimasco and CFM of Mozambique, which saw the parastatal moving about one million tonnes of chrome annually from the Great Dyke to the ports of Beira and Maputo along the Mozambican rail network.
“And we also have the NRZ-Zimasco-CFM agreement that we signed on October 25, 2017 and was effective November 1. So, again, that one is about NRZ carrying over at least 800 000 tonnes of chrome and ferrochrome from Zimbabwe to Mozambique,” he said.
“So, when they come to Zimbabwe, its NRZ that carries then CFM carries them from Tshikwalakwala area then to Maputo.”
NRZ is finalising a $400 million recapitalisation deal with a consortium led by the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) and South Africa’s Transnet.
The deal will see investment taking place in track rehabilitation, acquisition of locomotives, wagons and information communication technology to enable the parastatal to increase freight volumes.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister, Joram Gumbo recently revealed that DIDG/Transnet had already mobilised the $400 million and would want them to scale up the deal to $1,7 billion.
Maravanyika said last year they finished the rehabilitation of Nandi-Mkwasine railway line in Chiredzi at a cost of more than $10 million.
“Again, we are targeting the sugarcane in terms our freight and you find that now the farmers are turning to the rail more than the haulage.
So, I think, while the recapitalisation is a bigger picture, but we have been running small PPPs and small projects, which actually create the momentum for recapitalisation,” he said.
“So that is what the NRZ has been doing and once the recapitalisation starts its serious business.”