Trans-Zambezi railway extension studied

16 April 2021 | Economics

Government has commenced with a feasibility study to help determine the viability of developing and extending the Trans-Zambezi railway to link Namibia with other member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

This was announced by the minister of works and transport, John Mutorwa, on Tuesday in the National Assembly.

The ministry has completed the procurement process of appointment of the consultant and a contract for consultancy services has been signed with MR Technofin Consultants, a Canadian company, Mutorwa said.

“The consultant commenced with their work in March 2021. The contract is for a period of 12 months or one year. We thus expect to have the feasibility study report (FSP) by March 2022,” Mutorwa said.

The minister highlighted that the key motivation for the extension of the Trans-Zambezi railway is to attract business to the Port of Walvis Bay with a specific focus on bringing additional freight mainly from and to Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola.

He said the largest commodities targeted are minerals, exported from the region, complemented by other imports and regional trade.

LOAN

Mutorwa said the government received a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB). One of the project’s components that is being funded is the feasibility study which will among others research and analyse data and information pertaining to the railway project and provide to the ministry adequate strategic, economic and technical information on the project’s feasibility.

According to Mutorwa, the study will among others assess regional railway infrastructure development projects, and consult with other relevant authorities and institutions in the neighbouring countries.

The study will also include an evaluation on the transport demands, key users, commodities, annual freight volumes, transport prices, competing routes and modes of transport and will further do an evaluation of alternative options for achieving the regional railway interconnection, from Namibia, and the identification of the most favourable route. - Nampa

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