Zambia Railways on 'path to recovery'

Zambian railway projectBombardier, Huawei and GMC Technologies will be involved in delivering the US$51 million railway project. (Image source: fcl1971/sxc.hu)Zambia Railways (ZR) has signed a US$51 million contract for a state-of-the-art signalling and telecommunication project

The project will be jointly undertaken by leading international firms Bombardier and Huawei, as well as local company GMC Technologies.

According to ZR chief executive officer Muyenga Atanga, the signing ceremony represented a big leap towards bringing back the lost glory of the railway firm whose fortunes have tumbled in recent years.

The US$51 million is a component of the US$120 million allocation to ZR from the debut Zambian Eurobond issued in 2012.

"When we started, people doubted us, but now we are out of intensive care unit and on a growth path," Atanga said during the signing ceremony held in Lusaka recently.

The signalling and telecommunication project will be rolled out in a two-year period and will enhance safety on the railway line on which trains will move at a speed of between 70-80km per hour.

Bombardier head of Sub-Saharan Africa Rail Control Solutions, Valentine Paramasivam, said railway systems were fundamental to the economic development of any nation. The technology, which is a computer radio-based communication system, will be the first in the region and the company will set up a base in Zambia, Paramasivam pointed out. The radio equipment will be for the transmission of data, voice and video.

Huawei managing director Spawn Wen said the project was a milestone in railway transport and the company was up to the task of delivering its part of the project, while GMC Technologies managing director Rocky Chiyunyi said that his company would employ more than 100 people during the implementation of the project.

By Nawa Mutumweno

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