THE National Railways of Zimbabwe requires $500 000 for material to cover wagons for the movement of imported grain but the figure could rise once grain importers indicate their expected import quantity requirements. Zimbabwe is expected to import more than one million tonnes of maize this year to mitigate the effects of drought-induced hunger facing the country.“What NRZ needs are tarpaulins to cover the grain wagons and an amount of $500 000 is required. NRZ like other transporters will also be paid for any grain movement they will undertake,” Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo said.
He said some importers may choose to use road so that actual budget for NRZ will be known once all the players have indicated expected quantities.
Minister Gumbo said that the national rail carrier is geared to carry out its bulk transportation mandate.
In that regard, NRZ has entered into agreements with other railway operators in the region to build extra capacity.
The regional networks have helped boost NRZ’s daily capacity. NRZ and Zambia Railways have capacity to move 1 000 tonnes a day, while the national rail carrier and CFM (Central) of Mozambique have capacity to move a 1 000 tonnes through Beira. NRZ and CFM (South) and Transent Freight Rail will pull resources to import up to 4 000 tonnes a day through Maputo.
NRZ and Transnet will pool resources to import up to 2 000 tonnes a day.
“Further, there is additional capacity to move grain especially to the southern regions from South Africa through Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (Pvt) Ltd who also have ample capacity,” said Minister Gumbo.
He said to ensure a smooth flow of grain and to minimise disruptions to existing arrangements to move grain, GMB and the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development as well as the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare remain critical in the entire grain importation and distribution process.