Old infrastructure cripples NRZ

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it missed its target to move 5,3 million tonnes of freight this year due to a combination of internal and external challenges.

Old infrastructure and fleet topped the challenges, and these also included low commodity prices which affected its key customers in the mining sector.

Acting general manager Engineer Lewis Mukwada said the company had anticipated to maintain the growth momentum it was experiencing since 2009.

In 2014, the NRZ moved 3,5 million tonnes of freight.

“A combination of internal challenges and falling commodity prices on the global market affected the company’s key customers, notably those in the coal and chrome industries, resulting in sharp drop in the business availed to the parastatal.

“Other customers were affected by power supply challenges and equipment break down. This saw volumes moved in 2015 drop to 2,8 million tonnes compared to 3,5 million moved in 2014,” he said.

During the year, NRZ had anticipated to move significant volumes of iron ore exports on behalf of a new customer, but the business did not materialise.

Eng Mukwada said this was going to contribute significantly to the 5,3 million that the company was targeting to move in 2015.

“This business did not materialised due to the weakening of iron ore prices on the world markets and due to these factors the NRZ will not be able to attain its target for 2015,” he said.

Eng Mukwada said the NRZ required about $2 billion in the long term to revitalize operations while in the medium term about $500 million is needed.

Eng Mukwada said in 2016, NRZ would focus on recovering the momentum lost in 2015 as well as improving service delivery.

“This may entail hiring locomotives and wagons from within the region to complement NRZ’s own fleet,” he said.

On the other hand, NRZ has engaged some customers to finance repair of wagons in return for a dedicated service. — New Ziana.

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