‘Tazara needs fresh impetus’

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Lusaka - The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) needs to be repositioned to run as a viable business instead of relying on supplementary funding from shareholders, an official has said.

Tazara, a 45-year-old joint venture, operates 1,876km rail link between Tanzania and Zambia; and it has off late been moving about 250,000 tonnes of cargo annually against capacity of 600,000 tonnes.

The Zambian government recently pumped US$523,000 into the business as Tazara continues to struggle to meet overheads and finance its own restructuring.

Zambia’s Secretary for Transport and Communications, Mr Misheck Lungu, said they had since engaged the World Bank to undertake a feasibility study to determine the viability of the company.

“Tazara is a business venture and needs to make money and support itself. So the government will not treat it like a hospital which waits for state support. It should also undertake ventures to raise money for workers’ wages and sustain its operations,” Mr Lungu said.

Recently, the company started manufacturing mill balls used in the production of copper and other minerals so as to generate more revenue.

The initiative saw Tazara increasing its cargo haulage from 89,000 tonnes to 250,000 tons per year.

In addition, the Zambian government has made it mandatory for transporters of heavy goods to move at least 30 percent of their cargo via rail in a bid to direct business towards Tazara.

  

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