The Zambian government has not yet released the K5 billion to the ministry of works and supply which is needed to continue construction on the new Chipata-Mchinji railway.
The money was supposed to be released in the first quarter of 2010. According to secretary to the treasury Likolo Ndalamei, work has been done on 3km of line in the shunting yard, and on the terminal building, which includes offices for the stationmaster, police, Zambia Revenue Authority and the department of immigration. Water and power utilities have been connected. Landscaping has commenced and all the level crossings have been completed.
Ndalamei said that work remaining includes tiling of the terminal building and construction of the goods shed, container platform and fuel farms. Loading, offloading and stacking equipment, as well as cranes and forklifts are also outstanding.
Construction of the goods shed is to be undertaken by Zambia Railways Limited. Three companies have expressed interest in undertaking the assignment. “However, loading and offloading the trains will be outsourced from either the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce or the private sector”.
Ndalamei said preliminary discussions on train services had been held with government officials from Malawi and Central East African Railways, (Cear), the concessionaire that runs the Malawi railway network.