By Buumba Chimbulu
OVER 3,000 tonnes of cargo has been moved in the first half of 2017 by Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL), an increase of 28 percent performance in freight from the number recorded last year during the same period.
ZRL has also announced that during the period under review, the company provided its services to 118,830 passengers compared to 110,884 passengers during the same period in the previous year.
ZRL chief executive officer, Christopher Musonda, said between January and June, 2017, a total of 317,625 tonnes were hauled compared to 247,246 tonnes achieved during the same period in the previous year, representing an increase of 28 performance in freight performance.
Mr. Musonda attributed the improved performance to the significant increase in the importation of mining inputs such as Sulphur during the period under review compared 2016 when most mines were placed on care and maintenance.
“The main reasons for the improved performance include: The acquisition of more business from our customers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the importation of coal from Zimbabwe for the booming cement production in Zambia. ZRL also participated more in the movement of imported fuel for oil marketing companies in Zambia,” Mr. Musonda said.
Responding to a press query, Mr. Musonda also said the signing of service level agreements with local companies such as Puma Zambia and Lafarge for the movement of their cargo saw ZRL moving their products within Zambia.
Meanwhile, Mr. Musonda said ZRL provided its services to 118,830 passengers compared to 110,884 passengers during the same period in the previous year from all its inter-city runs, representing an increase of 7 percent.
“This was mainly due to an increase in the number of trains operated in 2017. Management engages school/ church authorities on the provision of group concessions based on travelling students during school closing and opening time as a way of directly marketing the services,
“With regards to the Lusaka commuter train, we reduced the running times of the commuter train to twice a week on Mondays due to lack of appropriate equipment for commuter operations,” Mr. Musonda said.