Govt targets overloaded trucks

Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Felix Mhona revealed that government would soon embark on a rehabilitation programme at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)

GOVERNMENT will be rolling out weighbridges along Zimbabwe’s major highways to ensure that heavy trucks do not damage the country’s roads, a Cabinet minister has said.

Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Felix Mhona said this in the Senate on Thursday last week where he also revealed that government would soon embark on a rehabilitation programme at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) that would include repairing railway lines and acquiring new locomotives to boost the transporter’s business.

On the damages caused by the trucks on Zimbabwe’s roads, Mhona said government would be charging extra loads through the weighbridges.

“Indeed, our roads have been transformed and we have abnormal load trucks moving on the new roads. We are going to introduce weighbridges so that we know the weight of the different vehicles that will be using these roads,” he said.

“For example, those who are into lithium mining will know that when you look at the weight of lithium in a wheelbarrow, it is quite heavy than you think and this damages our roads.

“This is how we are transforming our roads. We are going to be charging such extra loads through weighbridges.”

He, however, said Zimbabwe’s railway lines were not as badly damaged as perceived by the general public.

“On roads, there are potholes that develop, but on railways lines, we call them cochins. These are only 10%. Out of the 2 600 railway lines in the country, it is only 260 we are working on.

“We are going to repair them so that our railway lines will be operational very soon, thereby benefiting businesses when they transport their goods,” Mhona said.

He said government would be acquiring new locomotives to ease pressure on Zimbabwe’s roads.

“This means that loads which are not supposed to use roads are going to be using the railway line,” he said.

In June this year, government announced that the NRZ would tap into a US$115 million line of credit negotiated towards procurement of new locomotives and wagons to boost the company’s freight capacity to meet the country’s growing economic needs.

Government also signed a US$81,2 million deal with India on the sidelines of the 18th Confederation of Indian Industry-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa for NRZ’s recapitalisation.

The NRZ has also been negotiating a US$115 million African Development Bank-funded contract to acquire seven locomotives, 315 wagons, five diesel multiple units and some infrastructure rehabilitation.

The locomotives would be the first that NRZ has bought since 1992.

The NRZ once moved 12 million tonnes per year, but now only hauls 2,3 million tonnes annually as most of its equipment is outdated.

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