The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu , Sunday News Reporter
TRANSPORTATION is still the largest contributor to National Railways of Zimbabwe’s revenue, with inter-regional agreements struck with sister rail services and companies around the region helping the rail transporter realise 38,5 percent of its profits from moving the mineral in and outside Zimbabwe.
According to the recently released Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency Transport Statistics report (2018-22), the transportation of coal is the main source of revenue for the NRZ. According to the report, which was compiled using administrative data obtained from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Central Vehicle Registry, Zimbabwe Republic Police Statistics Department, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, in the first-half of 2021, the NRZ made ZW$636,6 million from the transportation of coal.
The report further shows that other goods and agricultural produce accounted for 24,4% and 22,2% of the NRZ’s revenue, with other minerals contributing 11,4%, while coaching services only contributed 1% in the period under review.
In an interview with Sunday News, NRZ public relations manager Mr Andrew Kunambura said that agreements that the entity had struck with regional partners had helped maintain the supremacy of coal as the chief revenue generator for the rail transporter.
In December 2022, the NRZ and Botswana Railways (BR) signed a Through-Working Agreement, which saw both their locomotives passing to Bulawayo and Francistown, respectively.
The agreement came as part of efforts to cut delays and improve efficiency in the delivery of goods, which include salt, fuel, grains, sugar and coal.
Prior to the agreement both NRZ and BR locomotives would turn around at Plumtree, which caused delays and inefficiencies in the delivery of freight.
“Coal is the biggest product that the NRZ is moving. We have several customers in various fields including producers of chrome, ferrochrome, maize and other agricultural produce but our flagship product is coal. We move coal throughout the country and beyond.
We have partnerships with CFO in Mozambique whose purpose is to move coal from here to Beira and Maputo ports.
We have a partnership with Botswana Rail to move coal from their coal fields all the way to Maputo.
That’s also a product of the agreement we signed with BR in December 2022. We are also looking at signing a similar agreement with Mozambican Railways,” he said.
Mr Kunambura said that the NRZ had set up consolidation hubs in Zambia in a bid to tap into more markets in the region.
“We also move coal from our coal fields in Hwange to Zambia where we have set up a consolidation hub. We are working with Zambia Railways because we want to move coal to DRC because it is a commodity that is much needed in their mines and besides that, local copper mines in Zambia can also pick coal from our Kafue and Ndola consolidation hubs.
We also have a deal with ArcelorMittal of South Africa and through that agreement, we are moving coal for them from Hwange through two routes.
We move coal for this entity through either Beitbridge or through Botswana.
We deliver the coal straight to them as you can see from such agreements that we are moving large quantities of coal and this is our biggest product.
Our wagons are always moving coal from Hwange to various points at one point or another,” he said.