NRZ targets moving four million tonnes of freight per annum

By John Nhandara

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)’s revitalisation and recapitalisation drive has come with massive investment strategies which will see the company transporting about four million tonnes of freight up from just over two million per annum.

Strategic investment partnerships with countries such as Russia, Indonesia and Turkey are set to see the revitalisation, modernisation and recapitalisation of the NRZ, with the latest being an engagement between NRZ and an Indian parastatal, Rites Company, which is into the manufacturing of rolling stock.

A Zimbabwean delegation was recently in New Dehli and officials from the Rites of India are expected in the country to finalise contractual and legal obligations of the partnership.

NRZ board chairperson, Advocate Martin Dinha said, “The approach to the Rites of India came on the background of His Excellency’s initiative being invited to co-commission locomotives in Beira, Mozambique, and the country developed an interested. The deal is on. We expect the Indian in three weeks’ time to conclude on the contract and treasury is attending to the final modalities.”

The NRZ is on the road to recovery with several agreements on the table for the recapitalisation of the company.

“We have the Russians who are interested in providing 100 wagons. The deal is on. We have the rehabilitation of the railway and commuter system following what have been done in Tanzania and Zambia, the Turkish have also come in. Of late, we have the Indonesians Yape Merkhez who also want to come in and of late we have Indians who want to sell us rolling stock. One may ask why we have so many suitors. It is because there has been undercapitalisation for a long time, we require about a billion dollars in investments.”

At its peak the National Railways of Zimbabwe used to transport 12 million tonnes of freight each year.

In 2021, only 2,1 million tonnes of cargo was moved against a target of three million tonnes as a result of shortage of wagons and dilapidated rail infrastructure, which resulted in derailments.

The parastatal is in need of 45 locomotives and over three thousand wagons to transport eight million tonnes of cargo per annum.