By Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE’s Bi-National Commission (BNC) agreements with Botswana and Mozambique are bearing fruit, with the Rutenga – Chiqualaquala Railway Corridor being operationalised.
The BNC talks saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa striking a deal with his counterparts President Mogkweetsi Masisi of Botswana and President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique for regional trade development, private sector investment and socio-economic development.
This has seen Botswana Railways, National Railways of Zimbabwe and CFM of Mozambique resolving to operationalise the Rutenga – Chiqualaquala Railway Corridor as a gateway for bulk freight exports.
The railway corridor is now operational, with Botswana top coal producer Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) using the railway line for the transportation of coal to the port of Maputo.
A 50-wagon train is now moving huge tonnes of coal from the Botswana-based coal mine using the Rutenga – Chiqualaquala Railway Corridor.
Parties to the agreement noted that the Maputo through Rutenga – Chiqualaquala railway corridor has emerged as a shorter and viable alternative route.
The locomotives and wagons are owned by the Botswana Railways, while the NRZ and Mozambique railways are handling the logistics.
Botswana industry has also revealed plans to shift from using South Africa’s Durban and Richards Bay ports because of Transnet operational challenges.
The coal mining giant has indicated increased freight volumes through the new railway corridor, citing the ever-rising global coal prices.
Expectations are high that the cargo volumes through the route will grow to more than two million tonnes per annum.
Utilisation of the corridor is also anticipated to become a game changer in the regional transportation matrix, linking it to global markets.