Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:08:24 +0000
By SANDRA MACHIMA
THE Bombardier railway line in Germany is stepping up efforts in reviving the Zambia railways to compliment the planned return of Zambia Airways.
This follows the meetings between the Zambia’s Ambassodor to Germany Anthony Mukwita and Bombardier head of rail for Africa Christian Bengtsson.
Mr Bengtsson noted that the government must invest in the revival of Zambia Railways for Zambia Airways to fully make a positive business mark as the country seeks to become the Southern Africa’s trade hub.
He said a viable railway line will play a pivotal role in complimenting the planned return of Zambia Airways, adding the new airline stands to be complemented in a big way by a functional and highly efficient railway line.
Mr. Bengtsson was also concerned that despite having signed an MoU for a Zambia Railways revitalisation package, the deal had not moved forward since 2016 when Ambassador Mukwita first introduced the world’s s largest train company to President Edgar Lungu at State House.
This is according to a press statement released by First Secretary Press at the embassy of Zambia in Berlin Mr Kellys Kaunda.
And Mr Kaunda cited Ambassador Mukwita having said he would double up on the issue with the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati who had already discussed the revival of the dilapidated railway line with Bombardier top brass in Lusaka recently.
“I know that the Finance Minister is very interested in diversified financing and especially that which will come from the west because of the confidence it gives to the Zambian economy and the affordability of Bombardiers financing,” he said.
Mr Kaunda explained that Bombardier had carried out feasibility studies on the entire 900 km of railway stretch in Zambia that runs from Southern province to the Northern border.
He said the studies have identified key areas such as the rehabilitation of the 900km stretch, Zambia Railways must acquire new wagons estimated at 900 for freight, adding once railway was replaced and wagons purchased the company would be able to up cargo transportation from current 700,000 tons annually to about 5 million tonnes and eventually about 8 million tonnes annually.
A study further showed that jobs would increase at the railway company from the current 1000 to more than 5000.