- Published on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 03:20
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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MOVEMENT of goods and passengers from Tanzania to Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and vice versa, is set to improve gradually following the signing of a tripartite agreement to harmonise railway operations in the said countries.
The tripartite pact streamlines how the three railways will collaborate and interact in terms of conveyance of goods and passengers through each other's railway network without re-marshalling and transshipment.
The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) and SocieteNationale Des Chemins De Fer Du Congo Sarl (SNCC) signed the deal last weekend, which the trio hopes would facilitate smooth and seamless transportation.
Dr Damas Ndumbaro, the Acting Managing Director of TAZARA; Prof Clive Chirwa, the Managing Director of ZRL and Mr Vincent Tshiongo Ngalula, the Acting Director General of SNCC, signed the agreement in Lubumbashi.
A statement issued on Monday by the TAZARA Head of Public Relations, Mr Conrad Simuchile, revealed that the signing ceremony was preceded by three independent business agreements entered into by the respective parties, that is TAZARA and SNCC, TAZARA and ZRL as well as between ZRL and SNCC.
"Importantly, we have come to a mutual understanding on all the technical parameters regarding our respective operations and provided for continuous consultations through regular interchange meetings for the entire period of the agreement," read the communique.
With this agreement in place, cargo can now move in either direction and all the way from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri-Mposhi and Lubumbashi and vice versa without necessarily transshipping, re-marshalling or complications of any kind.
Dr Ndumbaro observed that the agreement had opened the door for a co-operation that would effectively link and serve customers in Lubumbashi, the Copperbelt and central parts of Zambia and Dar es Salaam, by harmonizing the passage of goods between these regions.
He added that the full implementation of the pact would assist the three governments to cut down budgets for roads repairs and maintenance as the bulk of cargo would be transported by rail.
Mr Ngalula lauded the signing as squarely fitting in the political aspirations of the African Union as well as regional trade facilitation objectives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC).
Prof Chirwa said that it did not make sense for cargo from the region to take so long to reach the port of Dar es Salaam when the infrastructure was available.
Experts have been calling for investment in TAZARA to improve its performance and ease congestion at the Dar es salaam Port. Currently, the flow of goods from the port to inland destinations is done mainly by trucks, which cater for over 90 per cent of cargo.
The remaining percentage is done by rail. Yet one train has the capacity to haul an equivalent of 60-trucks load.