January 14, 2019
Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) has said it will raise the volume of cargo it transports by 35.86 per cent during the financial year 2018/19 as part of its wider plan to start operating profitably in the near future.
The transporter is planning to move 300,000 tonnes of freight and 800,000 interstate passengers during the year ending June 2019, according to its managing director Bruno Chingandu.
The 300,000 tonnes of cargo is half of the 600,000 tonnes that the company must move per year for it to start making profit and pay dividends to the two governments. During the year ending June 2018, Tazara moved 220,818 tonnes of cargo.
It also moved 543,194 passengers between Dar es Salaam and Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. “I am positive that the plan will be achieved as we are planning to increase rolling stock capacity by procuring traction motors to bring on board 10 locomotives. This will increase the fleet from the current 8 locomotives to 18 locomotives,” he noted.
Tazara also says it will enhance the rehabilitation of the permanent way through improved quarry production, with procurement of equipment such as excavators and dumpers. The Tazara boss insisted they would use the same methods they employed in 2018, to implement plans for this year. “Our management will continue to monitor the trains in the entire railway system, resulting in better utilisation of assets as it was done last year,” he noted.
The transporter will also continue to improve performance of cargo throughput at the port of Dar es Salaam after the upliftment of VAT on all auxiliary services for transit goods. “The method enabled some goods, including Sulfur and sodium, which had been moved to other ports to return to the Dar corridor thus enabling us to access them in 2018,” he said.
Mr Chingandu also appreciated the continued government support from the two shareholders, promising to work with them for Tazara to get working capital and enabling a calm industrial atmosphere. Again, his strength stands at the introduction of a new railway regulation in Zambia that compelled all producers of bulky and heavy products to move 30 per cent of their commodities by railway.
Tazara will also achieve its plans through its opened networks to other operators through the Open Access Agreements, which increasing earnings to the entity and the two shareholding nations. The transporter, also puts its faith to the rehabilitated 128 wagons, bringing the total number of 315 wagons in the year 2018, of which he believes will help much to implement the plans in 2019.
Also, Tazara managed to improve its transit time to 5-7 days from 30 days of the train journey between Zambia and the port. However, Mr Chingandu wants some improvement in some areas such as reducing the existing prolonged customs formalities in some countries like DRC Congo. “We also experience poor railway infrastructure. Our track and other railway infrastructure remained generally poor due to limited or low investment, thereby affecting our operations negatively,” he noted.
One of the legal operational obstacle Tazara faces is the grace period for the customers transporting cargo to Zambia which is 21-day, while for DRC, Burundi and Rwanda it is 30 days.