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NRZ signs wagons deal in Russia

by Staff reporter
25 Oct 2019 at 09:31hrs | Views
A NEW lease of life is beckoning for the troubled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) after the entity signed a new deal with Union Wagons of Russia here on Tuesday, for the supply of wagons and locomotives.

The first batch of 100 wagons is expected to arrive in the country in January 2020. Union Wagons is Russia's leading and arguably one of the world's top manufacturers of freight cars, and also specialises in making railway rolling stock, supplying wagons and locomotives.

The deal comes barely a fortnight after Cabinet cancelled the $420 million NRZ recapitalisation tender that had been won by the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) and South African logistics group, Transnet in October 2016.

Cabinet cancelled the tender citing failure to meet timelines and funding challenges.

NRZ board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha is optimistic that the wagons and locomotives deal with the Russians will revive NRZ and position Zimbabwe as a railway hub in the Southern African region.

"The deal involves the capacitation of NRZ, as you are aware we have had capacity problems over the years and now we want to acquire rolling stock and rolling stock involves locomotives and wagons.

"We signed a deal with (Union) Wagons (of Russia), the largest wagon manufacturing company in Russia and we are going to get delivery of 100 wagons starting in January (next year); prototypes specially designed for our conditions in Zimbabwe," he said.

Adv Dinha said the deal will boost NRZ that is struggling to meet demand emanating mainly from agriculture and mining industries. "Ultimately, the deal involves the supply of 5 000 wagons so that we are able to match capacity utilisation for NRZ. We have booming mining and agricultural industries and we require the wagons and locomotives for these purposes.

"The current 100 wagons that we will be getting in January are costing US$10 million and we have secured the funding. Besides the wagons, we are going to get 70 locomotives," said Adv Dinha.

NRZ moved over three million tonnes of freight cargo between January and November last year, representing a 9,6 percent jump compared to the same period in 2017.

The company's freight volumes have been on the rise after receiving interim solution equipment in February last year as part of the cancelled US$400 million recapitalisation framework agreement signed with the DIDG / Transnet Consortium.

NRZ was leasing 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and seven coaches from Transnet as a temporary measure as it awaited finalisation of the recapitalisation agreement.

Source - the herald