New lease of life for Trans-Kalahari rail
28 January 2019 | Transport
The publication Construction Review quotes TransNamib spokesperson Ailly Angula-Paulino as saying the railway line will complement the existing Trans-Kalahari Highway, which links Botswana to the port of Walvis Bay.
An earlier agreement on the planned Trans-Kalahari railway line, signed in 2015, entailed adding a coal terminal and associated loading facilities.
TransNamib CEO Johny Smith previously told the Botswana publication Sunday Standard that construction was expected to start this year. “Early next year, 2019, the two governments are expected to meet in Namibia to discuss the project further,” he said.
According to him, TransNamib had assigned a team of professionals to make sure that the project did not stall, but Botswana did not send anybody to be part of the team.
“I am optimistic that the project will start; it will take about five years to be completed,” said Smith.
The governments of Namibia and Botswana signed an agreement in March 2014 to start the joint venture, which was to see the successful construction of the Trans-Kalahari railway at a cost of N$100 billion.
The 1 500-kilometre railway was expected be completed in five years and would initially depend on exporting 90 million tonnes of coal each year from Botswana to India and China.
The line is expected to start at the Mmamabula coal fields connecting to the existing railway line up to Rasesa where it turns west, passing north of Molepolole and east of Letlhakeng, joining the Molepolole-Kang road around Maboane, thereafter aligning to the Molepolole-Kang road up to Maramosu.
TransNamib did not respond to a request for comment on the report.