Mnangagwa To Consider Banning Road Cargo After Rail Revival

Government will consider banning heavy cargo trucks from the country's roads once the railway infrastructure has been revived, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. 

Speaking while officially launching the US$400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe recapitalisation programme in Bulawayo last week, Mnangagwa said his administration was working on a number of measures to fix Zimbabwe's dilapidated railway infrastructure, which was last serviced nearly two decades ago, reports Bulawayo 24. 

He noted that the current scenario, where road transport was moving a lot of bulk cargo, is causing damage to national roads and made them unsafe and inconvenient for ordinary motorists. The ban would significantly affect operations of heavy goods vehicles which move more than 90% of cargo in the country. There are also transit trucks that pass through the country from the neighbouring countries Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi. 

Most of the country's major roads, have outlived their lifespan, and are now dilapidated. Therefore, Zimbabwe is under pressure to not only rehabilitate its roads, but also modernise them.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology. In terms of that protocol, Zimbabwe agreed to assist in developing an adequate road network that supports the socio-economic growth underway in the region. The network needs to provide access to major centres, ports, and harbours, while minimising road transport costs and impacts to the environment.

According to SADC, roads affect all aspects of development in the region. However, Zimbabwe is facing budgetary constraints, and has very limited capacity to undertake infrastructure projects without funding from external sources. 

Calling for urgent investment in the country's roads by the private sector, Mnangagwa urged Transport Minister Jorum Gumbo to expedite the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway, along with many other road construction and rehabilitation projects throughout the country. 

The tender for the US$1 billion dualisation project was awarded to Geiger International and officially commissioned in May last year, but is yet to start, with indications it will commence next month. The contractor will work with Zhejiang Bayong Highway Engineering Company of China. The firm was contracted by government to carry out the project under a 25-year build-operate-transfer model.


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08 November 2017
SADC, Zimbabwe
1 min