South African freight firm Calabash Freight will start using the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) line under an agreement aimed at maximising the line’s usage, the rail company said on Tuesday.
The line is an important route for copper exports from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa’s top producer, but the firms transporting the metal struggle with rail capacity challenges.
TAZARA spokesman Conrad Simuchile said Zambia- and Tanzania-based Calabash Freight Ltd, which focuses on rail logistics, had already started conducting trial runs between the two countries.
Mining firms and other bulk cargo firms in Zambia are expected to transport at least 30 percent of their freight by rail under a new law to revive the sector.
Simuchile said TAZARA planned to hire five locomotives from South Africa to help boost its haulage capacity to meet the huge demand that had been created by the new law.
“These immediate steps we are taking are meant to assure the public and the business community of our readiness to meet the anticipated demand on our services,” he added.
The Zambia Chamber of Mines, an industry body, said last week that the new law on cargo is “economically inappropriate and unworkable” and should be reviewed.
The Chamber of Mines in Africa’s second-largest copper producer said the rail infrastructure in the country was in poor repair, lacked capacity and adequate security provision.-Reuters