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GOVERNMENT is impressed with the developments in the movement of cargo from road to rail.

Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba said with 17 percent increased cargo recorded at Tazara and 16 percent at Zambia Railways Limited, it was a clear indication of compliance with Government policy.

He said Government does not expect the implementation to be done overnight but that the progress made so far was tremendous.

Mr Mushimba explained in an interview that the two railway companies had already engaged with the major bulk carriers like cement producers, mining companies and the Zambia Sugar over the cross over from road to rail.

This is under Statutory Instrument No 7 of 2018 which directs bulk carriers to take to rail.

“When we signed the SI we knew that we needed to manage the change process. We didn’t sign and expect it to be complied overnight.

“So when we signed the SI we also commissioned an implementation strategy which was a six month process where the two railway companies were to engage the manufacturers and transporters of heavy and bulk cargo like cement, sugar, fertiliser, and copper cathodes,” he said.

He explained that ZRL and Tazara were to position their customer service personnel at the production plants to ensure that the process was well managed from production.

The Minister said there was need to cooperate with the producers to ensure compliance through written agreements.

“For those engagements, there were service level agreements which were supposed to be signed, and ZRL and Tazara positioning customer service personnel at these locations to ensure the process is managed well.

“And at the end of the six months implementation plan, the Government Compliance Team made up of railway inspectors, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZWAMA) and many similar agencies involved in similar works to check compliance,” he said.

Mr Mushimba however said companies should not wait for the end of six months compliance period, but rather must ensure they began to follow the law.

He was convinced the current indicators were in the right direction for the positive implementation of the new SI.

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