By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba has commissioned the Zambia Rail way (ZRL) sliding line that will connect Chambishi Copper Smelter and ZRL main line with a call to claim its place in the transportation sector.
Speaking when commissioning the sliding line in Chambishi yesterday, Mr Mushimba said the commissioning of the sliding line is aimed at growing the rail way sector.
He said from the time government made a decision to invest more in the railway sector, the company has seen a tremendous transformation.
Mr Mushimba said the project is a financial shared investment with Chambishi Copper Smelter and ZRL will help companies move 30 per cent of their cargo which will turn help to reduce accidents on the roads.
He said to fully implement the SI 7 of 2018, ZRL need to procure about 34 locomotives and 1800 wagons adding that government will continue to work with them to close the gap.
“Talks to modernize ZRL tracks and Equipment have reached an advanced stage with memorandum of understanding signed adding that a total of one billion United States dollars is needed to complete the modernization process.
“The luck of corresponding investment in the rail way sector in the past had led to poor maintenance of the tracks, equipment and infrastructure. Zambia Railways has recorded a 25 per cent increase in freight tonnage following the implementation of the SI 7 of 2018 that requires heavy any bulk transporters to move a minimum of 30 percent by rail,” he said.
He said ZRL has been making concerted efforts aimed at meeting market demands in the wake of the new statutory instrument.
And Chambishi Copper Smelter Deputy Chief Executive Dennis Deng assured government that the company will do business according to the stipulated laws.
Mr Deng said the Chambishi smelter sliding will help companies to transport mining commodities like copper, Sulphuric acid and copper concentrate thereby reducing pressure on the roads and accidents.