February 8, 2018 / 2:59 PM / 16 days ago

South Africa's Transnet to lease rolling stock to Zambia Railways

LUSAKA (Reuters) - South African logistics firm Transnet will lease locomotives and wagons to Zambia Railways to boost its capacity to handle bulk cargo, Zambia Railways’ CEO said on Thursday.

Zambia Railways CEO Christopher Musonda said Transnet had agreed to lease eight locomotives and 600 wagons to the Zambian firm, with the first delivery expected within two weeks.

“Our team is currently in South Africa inspecting the locomotives to see if they meet our technical specifications and we expect them to finish by Monday next week,” Musonda said.

“The wagons will come after the locomotives because we need to get their specifications from our customers, including mining companies.”

He gave no financial details but said it would be a profit-sharing arrangement.

Zambia introduced a new law compelling mining firms and other bulk cargo handlers to transport at least 30 percent of their freight by rail meant to revive the sector.

Under the agreement, Transnet would also offer technical support, such as the repair of infrastructure and training of staff, Musonda said.

The Chamber of Mines in Africa’s second-largest copper producer said last month Zambia’s rail infrastructure was in poor repair, lacked capacity and adequate security provision.

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) said last week South African freight firm Calabash Freight will start using its line in order to maximise the line’s usage.

Zambia’s railway currently has a freight market share of about five percent, with the remainder handled by road transport, according to government data.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by David Evans

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