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Chinese firm completes NRZ feasibility study


Bulawayo, (New Ziana) – The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) said on Tuesday a feasibility study on an investment deal with a Chinese company had been concluded, and a report on this will be out soon.

The NRZ recently inked an investment agreement with Chinese company, TransTech, a subsidiary of China Railway International Group (Crig) for possible investment in mordenisation of its rail system and infrastructure to world class standards.

The proposed US$533 million investment deal, if it comes to fruition, will see the provision of locomotives and other rail equipment, construction of a new Beitbridge-Harare railway line as well as increased transportation of minerals.

Crig chairperson, Yen Chen Yun, was been in the country recently to discuss the investment proposal with Government and NRZ officials.

The Chinese company has also carried out extensive examination of NRZ infrastructure, including rail lines and marshal yards, workshops and met customers.

NRZ Public Relations and Stakeholder Manager, Andrew Kunambura told New Ziana the feasibility study by the Chinese had been concluded, and a report will be presented to both parties for analysis.

“They were doing a feasibility study which they have now concluded and they will present a report to their principals and to us for analysis. That will then inform what decision both parties will arrive at,” he said.

Kunambura said the feasibility also included aspects of the NRZ’s strategic turnaround plan.

He could not say, however, when the NRZ would get the report. Finance and Investment Promotion Minister, Mthuli Ncube recently said the country should take advantage of Crig`s expertise and financial muscle to improve NRZ.

Meanwhile, the NRZ is targeting to move 2, 7 million tonnes of freight this year, up 17 percent compared to last year. However, the figure is still down compared to previous years when the company used to move 18 million tonnes of freight annually.

The parastatal said its high volumes this year will be driven by the mining sector.

At its peak in the 1980s, the NRZ employed 17,000 workers, and was the main transporter for industry within and outside the country. The numbers, both for employees and cargo handled, have dwindled.

The rail operator has been hard hit by lack of funding, obsolete equipment, vandalism, corruption and mismanagement have contributed to derailment of NRZ in recent years.

The parastatal has been knocking on the doors of many potential investors in recent years, pitching various investment projects in an attempt to mordernise its service and operations.Among the projects earmarked for investment are provision of passenger coaches and freight wagons, and upgrading and expansion of the rail system itself.

New Ziana

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