By Felix Katyetye
Zambia Railways Limited says it is actively pursuing strategic partnerships to secure funding for the much-needed modernization and expansion of its railway infrastructure and rolling stock.
Speaking during the Southern African Railways Association (SARA) in South Africa Zambia Railways Limited, Acting Managing Director, Engineer Fred Mwila said Zambia Railways is a key player in the country’s transportation sector hence the need to identified critical needs for capital investment to enhance its railway capacity and quality of services.
Engineer Mwila highlighted the sobering statistic that rail’s market share in Zambia currently stands at less than 10%, primarily due to insufficient track capacity and outdated rolling stock caused by a lack of financial investments.
“The SARA Conference served as a strategic platform for the company to engage with prominent stakeholders, sponsors, exhibitors, and conference delegates,” Eng Mwaila said.
He emphasized the importance of forging “smart partnerships,” particularly with the private sector, to address these infrastructure and operational challenges.
Mr. Mwila added that these partnerships are envisioned to bring about a technological transformation in Zambia’s railways.
“Key initiatives include the implementation of advanced systems such as signaling and telecommunications, traffic monitoring, and surveillance, all aimed at improving safety and efficiency across the rail network,” he said.
Mr. Mwila further stressed the significance of conferences like SARA, where railway industry stakeholders can exchange knowledge and experiences with the common goal of improving railway performance and boosting economic growth.
He noted that such events play a pivotal role in advancing the regional rail connectivity agenda and achieving a harmonized railway policy across Southern Africa.
“Zambia Railways Limited seized the opportunity to connect and collaborate with various stakeholders at the conference, including potential financiers and suppliers of railway infrastructure and rolling stock spares. These alliances are essential to fuel the revitalization of the rail sector in Zambia,” Eng Mwila added.
Meanwhile Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms. Mazuba Monze, expressed her satisfaction with Zambia’s participation in the high-profile conference and that she is hopeful that the insights shared during the event will contribute significantly to making Zambia Railways Limited a more financially sustainable and operationally efficient entity