Following the posting of improved service delivery by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and the National Railways Company of Congo (SNCC), the two railways have agreed to aggressively market their services to increase the volume of freight between the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The two railways met in Dar es Salaam on 13 June 2016 and also convened a meeting with Dar es Salaam based customers and other stakeholders on 14 June 2016 to deliberate on various aspects relating to railway services in Tanzania, Zambia and DRC.

Both TAZARA and SNCC announced that they had posted substantive improvements in their performances, with transit time between Lubumbashi and Dar es Salaam having been scaled down from over 40 days to less than 10 days in the recent past. TAZARA alone is moving cargo between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri-Mposhi in 5 days, on average.

With reduced transit times reduced to such low levels, the incidences of theft of cargo had also been eliminated, it was announced.

These improvements have come as a result of changes of leadership in both railways as well as measures taken by the shareholding governments to stabilize and boost railway operations by injecting funds and equipment.

Both TAZARA and SNCC expressed regret that despite the abundant volumes of cargo being moved along the Dar es Salaam Transport Corridor covering DRC, Tanzania and Zambia, the railways’ share of less than 2% was unacceptably too low and resolved to collectively pursue strategies that would uplift freight haulage in the next few months.

The stakeholders noted the efforts that the railways were making to improve their services but also urged them to review their tariff rates because the railways were supposed to offer the cheaper mode of transportation compared to roads.

The stakeholders also urged the railways to streamline their operations in order to not only ensure that seamless services were offered to shippers in DRC, Zambia and Tanzania, but also to make wagons readily available to customers whenever required.

In this regard, the two railways pledged to pool their efforts together in allocating wagons and to address the co-ordination amongst the three railways, including Zambia Railways Limited.

The stakeholders that attended the meeting included the Dar es Salaam based Congolese Business Association, Zambia Cargo and Logistics Limited, Tanzania Shipping Agents Association, the Dar es Salaam Corridor Group Limited and the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS).

The SNCC delegation was led by Mr. Romain Kabongo, the Commercial Director, whilst Mr. Bruno Ching’andu, the Managing Director of TAZARA, led the TAZARA contingent and chaired the meeting.