TAZARA: Improved Performance And Open Access Progress

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Board of Directors, comprising the Permanent Secretaries responsible for Transport in the Republic of Zambia and the United Republic of Tanzania, Eng. Misheck Lungu and Mr. Gabriel Migire, as Chairperson and Co-Chairperson, respectively, together with four other Board Members from both countries, Prof. Razack Lokina, Mrs. Rukia Shamte, Mr. Stanslous Sichalwe and Mr. Peter Kazhila, virtually held the 116th Board Meeting via the e-Government Authority (e-GA) platform, on 28thApril 2021.

After observing a minute of silence in honour of the late President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, who passed on in March 2021, the Board of Directors deliberated on various matters pertaining to the operations of the Authority and agreed on the following key resolutions, amongst others.

Performance results for the first half of the Financial Year 2020/2021

The Board reviewed the performance of the Authority for the first half of the Financial Year (FY) 2020/2021 and noted a nineteen percent (19%) improvement in freight traffic compared to the previous first half of FY 2019/2020.

Despite a global economic slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Freight traffic volumes for the first half of 2020/2021 (July-December 2020) increased from 88,356 metric tonnes recorded in the previous FY’s first half (July-December 2019) to 105,222 metric tonnes.

With the addition of 127,259 metric tonnes moved by Calabash Freight Ltd, through Open Access operations, the total line capacity utilisation for the first half of the FY 2020/2021 aggregated to 232,481 metric tonnes, up by 19.4% compared to the combined volume of 194,726 metric tonnes recorded in the previous FY’s first half.

On the other hand, with the COVID-19 pandemic still generally limiting the movement of people globally, overall passenger traffic for the first half of the FY 2020/2021 declined by 4.3%, dropping from 1,544,068 passengers recorded in the previous half year report to 1,478,032 in the first half of FY 2020/2021.

The above performance resulted in overall revenue earnings of US$14.88 million, which was an increase of 19.4% compared to US$12.56 million that was generated in the first half of FY 2019/2020.

Budget for the Financial Year 2021/2022

The Board considered and approved the budget proposals for the transportation of 450,000 metric tonnes of freight traffic and 3,400,000 passengers for the FY ending 30 June 2022, from which US$45.71 million operational and non-operational income was projected to be generated to cover the Authority’s operations for the year.

The total projected revenue from both freight and passenger services is US$36.03 million, whilst US$9.67 million is expected from other non-traffic revenues, including revenue from Open Access operations.

The total operating expenditure projected in this budget period shall amount to US$45.71 million.

Revitalisation Bankable Business Plan

The Board expressed confidence that the TAZARA Council of Ministers would soon meet to make a decision on the proposed Revitalisation Bankable Business Plan, whose investment outlay of US$558 million underpinned a strong short-to-medium term blueprint for the required transformational actions necessary to turn around the operations of TAZARA.

Open Access Operations

The Board noted the progress made in contracting additional private operators in the transportation of freight traffic on the TAZARA line using the Open Access model and urged Management to ensure that the relevant procurement processes are concluded expeditiously.

The Board observed that not only was the involvement of Open Access operations contributing to the increment of revenue for TAZARA, but was also responsible for a substantial diversion of heavy cargo away from the roads, a positive development that was slowing down the deterioration of roads in both countries.

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