Two more private operators to venture into Tazara line
Dar es Salaam. Two more private operators are eyeing to ply the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) line, which is currently negotiating contract with the companies.
Tazara board of directors, comprising the permanent secretaries responsible for transport in Zambia and Tanzania, together with four other board members from both countries, said in a communiqué that the private operators will have positive impact on the utilisation of the infrastructure.
The companies will add on Calabash Freight Ltd, which currently use the Tazara infrastructure to link Zambia and DR Congo traders with the port of Dar es Salaam.
The total line capacity utilisation for 2020/2021 aggregated is up by 26.6 percent to 479,801 metric tons (tonnes), compared to the combined volume of 378,978 tonnes recorded during the financial year 2019/2020, thanks to addition of 262,140 tonnes moved by Calabash Freight Ltd.
“Whilst noting the positive impact of the private operator on the overall capacity utilisation of the Tazara infrastructure, the board welcomed management’s report that two additional private operators were imminently expected to commence operations upon the conclusion of contract negotiations,” Tazara stated.
“In this regard, the board urged the management to ensure that more funds were allocated towards maintenance of the rail track as traffic flow was expected to increase exponentially with the coming in of two additional players,” it added in the communiqué.
The board reviewed the performance of Tazara for the financial year ending June 30, 2021 and commended the management for a 19.4 percent improvement in freight traffic and 26.7 percent improvement in overall revenue earnings, compared to the previous financial year ending June 30, 2020.
Despite limitations on the movement of people globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the overall passenger traffic transported was 2,760,493 passengers during the 2020/2021, compared to the previous year’s 2,778,708 passengers, a drop of 0.66 percent.
The performance resulted in overall revenue earnings of $31.044 million for the financial year ending June 30, 2021, including $12.689 million earned from other nonprofessional income as well as Open Access Fees paid by the private operator plying on the Tazara line.
The overall revenue earnings for the 2019/2020 was $24.511 million, the firm said in the statement.
The board was also confident that, with a new cabinet now in place following successful general elections in Zambia, the Tazara Council of Ministers would soon meet to make a decision on the proposed Revitalisation Bankable Business Plan, whose investment outlay of $558 million underpinned a strong short-to-medium term blueprint for the required transformational actions necessary to turnaround the operations of Tazara.