SA company to revamp Bulawayo-Victoria Falls railway line


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New Limpopo Project Investments (NLPI) a subsidiary of South African freight and shipping giant, Grindrod has entered into an agreement with the National Railways of Zimbabwe to service and market the 470 kilometre rail between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls to provide a North-South corridor.

The state-owned NRZ’s poor financial position has meant that it is not able to service its railway lines and most of the tracks are in disrepair.

The agreement with NLPI means that the South African company will service the railway line and market it, increasing earnings for the cash strapped parastatal. However, NRZ remains the owner and operator of the track, which completes the line between South Africa and Zambia through Zimbabwe.

NLPI acquired an 85 percent stake in BBR in June this year, making it the majority owner of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge rail line. The agreement with NRZ gives it access to the railway line from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls and access to Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The involvement (NLPI logistics) in the North Line guarantees the required standards and level of service offered by the operator (NRZ) by ensuring the availability of funds necessary for the operational inputs, including rolling stock, fuel and so on. This level of service encourages the rail users of the corridor to enter into long-term railage agreements,” said NLPI in a statement today.

The company added that it owns a fleet of rolling stock, comprising 35 locomotives and 600 wagons, which are already being utilised along the corridor.

“We have started to implement our plans by deploying  new locomotives on this corridor and investing  in rehabilitation and maintenance of the track,”  Grindrod’s Andrew Thomas said in a later email.

The company is also rebuilding some of NRZ’s older locomotives at a cost of $2 million.

“Our objective is to significantly increase the total tonnage carried on the BBR railway line as part of our broader ambitions for the North-South Rail Corridor and we are putting in place the operational capacity, human resources, infrastructure and systems to support those objectives,” Thomas added.- The Source

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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