Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) and Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) have signed a pact aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two railways.
The Mou was signed in Lusaka last week between Tazara Managing Director Akashambatwa Mbikusika-Lewanika and his ZRL counterpart, Prof Clive Chirwa.
A press Tazara statement signed by its head of public relations, Conrad Simuchile, quoted Mbikusita-Lewanika as saying the meeting with his counterpart had “advanced the process of defining and mapping out how best to smoothen and expand rail transportation across rail systems, with the aim of better facilitation of trade and development in Southern and Eastern Africa.”
“The signing of MoU between Zambia Railways and Tazara is to be followed by a comprehensive agreement on business cooperation and implementation arrangements,” he said.
Expressing gratitude, he said Prof Chirwa has made an “encouraging contribution towards a renewed and reinvigorated chapter in the relationship between the twin railway systems, following the decision by the Government of Zambia to revoke the concession of ZRL.”
“Tazara was committed and eager to cooperate with ZRL to determine and implement the progressive and good business goal of proving railway customers with a seamless service between Lubumbashi and Dar es Salaam,” he said.
For his part Prof Chirwa said he accepts Tazara’s invitation to travel later this month to Dar es Salaam for the next round of discussions, where the main business agreement shall be finalised and signed, together with deals for operational arrangements.
The two Chief Executives are later expected to meet with their counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in order to bring the Congolese Railway systems on board.
It is expected that the deal would increase the rail market share on the Dar es Salaam corridor from the current unsatisfactorily 10 percent to 40 percent within the shortest possible time.
This is a proposition being passed on from a business meeting held in Dar es Salaam a few weeks ago, at which ZRL and Tazara senior officers agreed to join efforts and resources towards reviving and enhancing rail traffic levels on the Dar es Salaam Corridor and providing customers with a seamless service.
“The objective is for the railway systems to allow each other’s locomotives and wagons into each other’s railway spheres, when it makes business sense and when it is in the interest of customers,” the statement said.
“This is intended as a contribution to reducing the cost and inconvenience of doing business with railway systems, by avoiding forcing customers to transship cargo at Kapiri Mposhi,” it said.