MINISTER of Transport and Communication Hon. Brian Mushimba has disclosed that the PF government under the leadership of H.E President Edgar Lungu attaches greater importance to the modernization of the transport sector of the country. And that government through his Ministry is on course on modernizing the Road transport, the railway transport, the Air transport and Water transport in the country.
Speaking during the PF Interactive Forum in Lusaka this Morning, the Minister said government has so far managed to improve the railway transport in the country, he said the injection of US $120, 000,000 Eurobond money into the Zambia Railways has greatly improved the efficiency and speed of the vessels from 10-15 kilometres per hour to 50 Kilometres per hour.
The Minister said during the last 5 years that the PF government have been in power, slow speeds on the TAZARA railways has been reduced by 86%. “This means that transporting of goods and other bulk cargo from Mpika to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania which used to take 36 days has now been reduced to just 5 days” Hon. Mushimba said. He said the government of the republic of Zambia with its counter part, the government of Tanzania will work to further reduce the slow speeds and improve on the delivery of goods between the two countries.
He said government has engaged three companies to carry out feasibility studies on how best to modernize the TAZARA and Zambia Railways. The Minister said the modernization plan will be carried out in three phases and that by the end of the third and final phase, Zambia will have a modern Railway transport system.
Hon. Mushimba said the tonnage that both TAZARA and Zambia Railways lost due to slow speeds is slowly coming back due to improved and faster speeds. He said the two companies lost business because of the long periods of time it used to take to move goods from one point to another by rail.
He said transporters including the mines and fertilizer distributors will now be encouraged to use the railway transport which is much cheaper and can now deliver the goods to assigned destinations within a shorter period of time.