CREWS and Allied Workers Union of Zambia has welcomed the Statutory Instrument compelling transporters of heavy cargo to move 30 per cent of it from road to railway. CRAWUZ President Bevis Silumbe observed that the new SI would boost and promote the sustainability of the railway sector in the country.
In an interview, Silumbe noted that the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways were currently faced with operational challenges owing to loss of business to road transporters of heavy and bulk cargo. He said the SI would enable TAZARA operate profitably as it would make the railway company meet the break-even point of 600,000 metric tonnes annually.
“Currently TAZARA is struggling to even pay its workers because we don’t have business…we don’t have enough cargo to move to make money…. This SI will give us that cargo and enable us operate profitably,” said Silumbe.
And Kapiri Mposhi District Clearing and Forwarding Agents association chairman Ronald Simwanza noted that the new SI would decongest the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) border and inland clearing posts.
He said ZRA clearing ports were currently congested with trucks.
“Our border and inland ZRA ports are congested with trucks making it hard for ZRA to operate efficiently. Therefore, this SI will decongest these offices and enable ZRA to operate efficiently because they are going to establish presence at railway stations,” said Simwanza.
Recently, transport minister Brian Mushimba signed the SI, which takes effect by the month end of February 2018.
Some of the heavy bulk cargo that are expected to be transported onto the railway include copper, copper and cobalt concentrates, sugar, coal, cement, sulphur, fuel, among other heavy bulk cargo.