The Sunday News
Sibongile Ndiweni, Sunday News Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has partnered with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and SilverGill Mineral Hub to transport minerals, a development that is expected to generate revenue and spell a new dawn for the parastatal.
The partnership with MMCZ will create a path for the exports of bulk minerals such as chrome and coal and among others, while SilverGill Mineral Hub will consolidate chrome from small market players for export purposes.
In an interview, NRZ public affairs and stakeholder relations manager, Mr Andrew Kunambura said they were ready and have prepared enough land to set up warehousing for storage purposes.
“We have plenty land to set up sidings or warehousing to consolidate traffic till it is enough for a train load. This will then be transported by rail until it reaches its intended destination. The partnerships with these two (MMCZ and SilverGill Mineral Hub) will ensure NRZ gets guaranteed revenue,” said Mr Kunambura.
He said the revenue acquired would be ploughed into refurbishment of wagons and locomotives through public-private partnerships arrangements. Mr Kunambura said they were also targeting to establish intermediate container terminal synergies with road transport that would be of great benefit to the organisation.
He said they were in discussion with DP World for setting up dry ports at Lions Den, Lochinvar and Rutenga where they have depots. The step of partnership taken by the NRZ comes as time the organisation
Meanwhile, recently NRZ auctioned its disused wagons and other obsolete metals, which have become uneconomic to repair due to various reasons including accidents. The parastatal engaged Desired Liaison Auctioneers to conduct the auction which was held at the company’s headquarters in Bulawayo as well as in Harare.
Proceeds from the public auction will be used to refurbish operating wagons and procurement of new ones.
NRZ also announced that it needs US$45 million to refurbish 84 coaches and purchase 45 brand new ones in order to resume its passenger service, which has been suspended since 2019 following an outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The parastatal said it needs at least nine locomotives for its inter-city nine routes and four are needed for its current routes. Most NRZ locomotives and wagons have outlived their lifespans. As a result, a large number of these assets have been set aside for mechanical reasons with the few that are still running being unreliable resulting in two different locomotives being used to complete a single trip.