Zimbabwe has actualised its railway partnership agreements with Botswana and Mozambique for the enhancement of regional trade among the three countries through the movement of coal from Botswana via Zimbabwe to Mozambique.
The tripartite arrangement comes after successful and separate bilateral engagements through Bi-National Commissions (BNCs) between President Mnangagwa and his regional counterparts, Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique.
Since March when the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) signed the business agreements with Botswana Railways (BR) and the Mozambique Railways and Ports Authority (CFM), a trial run has been consummated linking the Botswana-Zimbabwe-Ponta Techobanine port rail corridor of Mozambique.
NRZ board chairperson Advocate Martin Dinha yesterday said the freight agreements among the three countries are a success story of the engagements between President Mnangagwa and his counterparts.
Adv Dinha said NRZ targets increasing the volume of coal to two million tonnes annually using the Botswana-Zimbabwe-Ponta Techobanine corridor alone.
“In terms of movement of coal from Botswana through Chiqualaquala to Maputo port, this is a very clear success of the current engagement between President Mnangagwa and President Masisi after signing the BNC agreement in Victoria Falls and also his engagement with his counterpart in Mozambique, President Nyusi.
“Under this framework they agreed that they boost trade along railway lines within the Gaza province. As NRZ we quickly followed up on the government-to-government protocols and actualised traffic movements in a record three months,” said Adv Dinha.
Adv Dinha said Zimbabwe is geographically positioned so it benefits from trade agreements with other regional countries as it plans to have coal volumes increased under the current framework.
“The business outlook is good at NRZ as we increase efficiencies and this story is a sign of the new business environment we have and our capacity to handle freight on this corridor. We sit well geographically.
“We have also had an agreement with CFM in Mozambique under the same framework to move the volumes and we support each other as a contiguous since our target is to increase volumes to 2 million tonnes per year on that corridor alone,” he added.
Zimbabwe took advantage of Botswana’s shift from using the Durban and Richards Bay ports of South Africa for the alternative that it has currently engaged with Zimbabwe.