THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) expects to improve its freight volumes to four million tonnes a year from two million tonnes in the short term by pursuing potential business deals and partnerships involving regional and international companies.
This comes as Botswana Railways (BR) has already indicated plans to introduce a Francistown-Harare route service in response to the surge in the movement of goods and people in the region.
NRZ board chair, Advocate Martin Dinha, said they were in the process of evaluating viability of potential businesses, including the United States’ Railnet International US$11 billion investment plan for a modern route and high-speed trains linking Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
He revealed that consultations were underway with potential suitors that will result in a Canadian firm investing in DRC, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“I believe as NRZ we are on the right track for game changing deals. We have the Railnet International business proposal and it’s not the only one business opportunity we have, our systems are all out.
“We have another business opportunity that came through the engagement of President Mnangagwa and former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe where there is a Canadian company also keen to support DRC, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“The Railnet one we are making investigations and we have reached to our counterparts — Zambia and Botswana for finer details of what it will entails for the investment,” said Advocate Dinha.
The NRZ board chair conducted a tour of Sino Cement Company in Gweru on Monday. He said the company was one of the largest customers for NRZ hence the need to enhance service efficiency.
“Industrial logistics are our target as we want to improve our tonnage per year from two million to four million per year in the short term but our final target if 18 million,” he said.
Adv Dinha said Manicaland province, under the devolution agenda, was also pushing for the introduction of Harare-Beira train because of improved traffic in that region.
“About the Harare-Francistown train, it was not our initiative as NRZ but we are supporting the initiative of our neighbouring countries, in particular the Botswana-Harare railway, which was a result of an offer from Botswana Railways following the surge in demand for connectivity for people in Sadc,” he said.
The Botswana-Harare rail link will go a long way towards enhancing movement of people and goods between Gaborone and Harare.
“I will be meeting the chairman of Botswana Railways soon to cement the deal,” he said.–chronciel.coz.w