BBR/NRZ in wagon refurbishment deal

BBR/NRZ in wagon refurbishment deal
Published: 09 January 2018
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has entered into a $375 000 partnership with the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railways (BBR) to refurbish 25 wagons in a move that is meant to boost NRZ's capacity to move bulk cargo.

NRZ will refurbish the wagons after BBR agreed to finance the project, which will cost $375 000.

The NRZ general manager Engineer Lewis Mukwada yesterday confirmed the development.

"We're working with BBR to move cargo locally. NRZ moves products from Colleen Bawn to Harare while BBR moves products from Colleen Bawn to Bulawayo.

"We sat down with BBR and agreed to pool wagons in order to meet customer demands. BBR will raise the finance while NRZ will take care of the refurbishments of the wagons," said Mr Mukwada.

He said it would cost $15 000 to refurbish each wagon.

A decline in business has seen the NRZ reducing both passenger and freight train services.

The NRZ, whose service is demand-driven, has been affected by the slump in the economy. Most of its traditional customers have closed shop or have reduced production, affecting the volume of freight which is carried by the NRZ.

The parastatal has said in the long term it requires up to $2 billion to fully recapitalise but has been failing to attract financiers largely due to a weak balance sheet.

NRZ has failed to run profitably for years due to undercapitalisation and ageing equipment. The giant firm requires around $400 million in the short-to-medium term for re-capitalisation.

At its peak, NRZ employed nearly 20 000 workers and moved 18 million tonnes of freight annually. NRZ now moves less than 100 000 tonnes per week following the collapse of industry and poor rail infrastructure. The workforce is down to less than 6 000 employees.

NRZ is one of the 10 State enterprises targeted for reform by Government and its revival is seen as crucial to the revival of local industry.
- chronicle
Tags: NRZ,


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