New rail service links Beira with Zimbabwe

Aug 2, 2003
Author: P&S

According to reports in the Zimbabwe press a privately operated rail service between the Mozambique port of Beira and Zimbabwe has been launched.

The launching follows the signing of an agreement between Zimbabwe-based Freight Forwarders Zimbabwe (FFZ) and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), in which FFZ has leased six refurbished diesel-electric locomotives at a cost of ZD 5 billion over six years, with an option to re-negotiate the lease at the end of the period.

The Zimbabwe newspapers reported FFZ’s general manager Gaylord Mlambo as saying the new service would handle an estimated 52,000 tonnes of freight each month of both imports and exports and covering such commodities as fuel, grain, fertiliser, soda ash, tobacco, tea and cotton.
He said the decision to invest in the project came at a time when the transport network faced enormous challenges that included congested seaports and an overburdened road transport system. The introduction of the new service coincides with the NRZ experiencing increasing efficiency problems because of a lack of infrastructure including rolling stock.

“Beira in our view presents the most efficient route for cargo movement for Zimbabwean products,” he told the Chronicle.

Zimbabwe Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications Col. Christian Katsande said the recently passed National Railways Act provided opportunities for what he termed hand-in-glove relationships with other companies and said that it was important that they took advantage of changes in the Act.

The service will operate in partnership with South African/Mozambique warehouse and transport specialist Manica as well as Zimbabwe-based BAK Storage, a leading Zimbabwe warehousing logistics company. FFZ claims it can deliver cargo on a named-day basis and within seven days, compared with up to 30 days for other southern Africa-based cargo carriers.

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