The Zambian government announced plans to build further railway lines in 2014. However, this project was never completed, and the country now runs freight services from the border of Victoria Falls to Chingola via Livingstone, Choma, Mazabuka, Lusaka, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Ndola, and Kitwe.
There are no other passenger services available from Livingstone to Kitwe. There hasn’t been any work on the project since the Ministry of Transport and Communication of Zambia signed an $825 million contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation in 2020.
The 1,860 km Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA), which connects the town of Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia with the port of Dar es Salaam in east Tanzania, is also partially run by the nation.
Reported in July 2014
Zambia Set to Construct New Railway Lines
The Zambian government has announced its plans to construct five railway lines in the next three years. These three lines will enable the country to ease the transportation of bulky goods due to the presence of various industries such as agriculture, mining, and energy.
The government noted that the new railway lines will act as a link between the mining sector of the country and other African countries. This will in turn boost the infrastructure of the country. There will be one link from Chingola to Angola, which will be shorter, hence serving as an alternative export route through the Angolan ports.
Construction of the new lines will also serve East Africa thus easing the load off the Tazara railway line which connects Zambia to Tanzania. This line has enabled the Zambians to transport their copper and cobalt through to Dar es Salaam for many years.
The President of Zambia Michael Sata noted that such a development will help the country to become a regional business hub, something which will help improve the economy of the country.
The five new railway lines will be constructed by Zambia Railways.
Reported in December 2019
Zambia to receive US $2.03bn for Chipata-Serenje Railway project
The government of Zambia is set to receive a US $2.03bn loan from the Exim Bank of China for the Chipata-Serenje Railway project. Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale confirmed the report and said that construction of the railway line will commence after financial closure is reached.
The 389 km rail project is set to be an important part of the integrated southern African transportation system, which connects Zambia with Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and Mozambique. It will provide an alternative trade route to the east coast of Africa via the port of Nacala in Mozambique.
Chipata-Serenje Railway project
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation was single-sourced for the project as one of the terms of the agreement while the Ministry of Infrastructure will oversee the construction. About 8,000 direct jobs will be created during the construction period.
Upon completion in four years, the rail line would ease exports and imports “This project is important in that it is going to link the Chipata-Muchinji railway to the TAZARA railway line, basically connecting one corridor to the other.
It will also provide the shortest route of 1500 km to the sea from Kapiri-Mposhi. We are going to have Great East Road connected all the way to Dar-Es-Salam,” said Development Minister Vincent Mwale.
“There is so much value in that it will help ease exports and imports but at the same time reduce the burden that government has, spending money repairing roads that are so costly and easily get damaged because of goods that are transported through the road.
The line will provide a link from mining, agricultural, and industrial production centers with distant markets as well as a link for transportation of mining inputs, agricultural inputs, and industrial raw materials,” Vincent Mwale added.
Reported in March 2020
Zambia signs US $825m railway lines upgrade contract
The Ministry of Transport and Communication Zambia has signed a US $825m contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited that will see the modified engineering, rehabilitation, and upgrade of existing Railway lines in the country.
These include the main line from Livingstone to Kafue Bridge which is 420.97km long, the branch line from Masuku to Choma which is 64.34km long, and another branch line from Livingstone to Mulobezi which is 162.95km long. According to the Zambian government, the project will cover nearly 650km of railway lines and will be completed in eight years.
Railways in Zambia
The main railway spine through the country today is the Zambia Railways line from Livingstone, via Lusaka, to Kitwe in the north, used by passenger and freight trains. At Kapiri Mposhi there is a junction with Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) that is used by freight trains but not passengers.
TAZARA has its own passenger trains, but the passenger stations of the two railways at Kapiri Mposhi are separated by a distance of around 2km. Livingstone is also the junction with the Mulobezi line, and with the line from Zimbabwe via the Victoria Falls Bridge.
About The China Railway Construction Corporation Limited
The China Railway Construction Corporation Limited is a China-based construction company with headquarters in Beijing. The state-owned corporation was ranked first in 2014 as the largest construction and engineering company in the world by revenue.
On the other side, Zambia had last month announced plans to cut foreign debt, therefore, borrowing to fund the project could raise questions about the measures taken by the country which is currently battling a struggling economy.