SI on transportation of cargo retrogressive – Mutale
By Staff Reporter
FEDERATION of Clearing and Forwarding Associations of Southern Africa vice-president Emmanuel Mutale has urged the Zambian government to suspend the Statutory Instrument compelling transportation of 30 per cent cargo by rail.
In February last year, the government issued a Statutory Instrument aimed at ensuring that transporters move 30 per cent of their bulk and heavy cargo by rail.
And some stakeholders, including Crews and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CRAWUZ), welcomed the move.
CRAWUZ president Bevis Silumbe noted that the Statutory Instrument would enable Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) transport bulk and heavy cargo on a large-scale and subsequently increase the revenue base at the railway company.
Silumbe also observed that the Statutory Instrument would lead to the preservation of the road infrastructure across the country.
But in an interview, FCFASA vice-president Mutale explained that he was opposed to the idea of hauling 30 per cent bulk and heavy cargo by rail because the rail industry in Zambia lacked the capacity to haul cargo on a large-scale in an effective and efficient manner.
“Here in Zambia our rail lines have not been rehabilitated for a long time. And as a result, we experience derailments which lead to delayed delivery of customers’ goods to designated places. It is also not a secret that essential facilities at TAZARA such as the control room and signal cabin need attention,” Mutale explained.
“The signal cabin, which is used to control the movements of locomotives on the rail line, has no spares and is in an obsolete state. The railway wagons at both Zambia Railways and TAZARA need to be worked on.”
“I think the signing of that Statutory Instrument was ill conceived and lacked wide consultation,” he noted.
Mutale also said there was need for management at both TAZARA and Zambia Railways to invest in modern technology if the railway companies were to remain competitive.
“The two railway companies appear to be lacking in terms of skills development in the execution of their marketing strategies. It wouldn’t be wrong to recommend that management at TAZARA and Zambia Railways should come up with an intensive capacity programme for people to work in the marketing departments,” noted Mutale, who is also Zambia Freight and Forwarders Association chairman and proprietor of Emmage Freight Limited
“It wouldn’t be wrong to let individuals go for a three-year intensive training in marketing involving research and analysis. It is a pity that when you come out to offer advice in the transport sector, some people tend to think that I am politicking or I want to jump on the moving wagon by being given a position in the railway industry. That time is long gone for me.”