By Freedom Mupanedemo
Ferro-chrome producer, Zimasco, is stuck with over 200 000 tonnes of ore after the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) failed to fulfil its obligation to transport them due to a shortage of wagons.
Zimasco marketing manager Mrs Clara Sadomba said the firm and NRZ signed an agreement in November last year in a deal where NRZ is supposed to ferry chrome ore locally and ferro-chrome ore for export to Maputo, Mozambique.
She said under the deal, NRZ was supposed to move 60 000 tonnes of chrome ore and ferro-chrome ore, but the parastatal was struggling to meet the target due to a shortage of wagons. The deal is due to be reviewed later this year.
“Under the arrangement, NRZ is supposed to provide wagons to take chrome ore from various corners of the country like Mhondoro, Mutorashanga and Shurugwi to our plant in Kwekwe,” said Mrs Sadomba.
“NRZ also moves our ferro-chrome ore for export to Mozambique and under the agreement which was signed in November last year, they are supposed to move 60 000 tonnes of both chrome and ferro-chrome per month.”
Mrs Sadomba said NRZ was failing to meet the monthly target, with the ferro-chrome giant stuck with about 200 000 tonnes of ore that needed to be moved. She said Zimasco had the capacity to increase the ore tonnage if NRZ improved on efficiency and reliability.
“Due to the shortage of wagons, we have allocated a small tonnage to be moved by road, but the disadvantage of road transport is the destruction of roads. We hope that under the recapitalisation programme, NRZ will be able to improve on the wagons, including the transit times which are currently very slow,” she said.
NRZ spokesperson Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the parastatal was working on rehabilitating decommissioned wagons to increase the number of wagons. He said under the recapitalisation drive, NRZ sought to buy new wagons to improve on efficiency.
“As you might be aware, the parastatal is under recapitalisation and Government has made significant strides by identifying an investor to revive NRZ and it is under this arrangement that the issue of improving on efficiency, as well as number of wagons, not only for Zimasco, but all our clients, is being taken note of,” said Mr Maravanyika.
He said as a short-term measure, the parastatal would liaise with clients on being time conscious when loading and offloading goods.
“The other short-term measure that can help us meet our target, especially with Zimasco, is to address the issue of loading and off-loading,” said Mr Maravanyika.
“At times the wagons take much time before the consignment is offloaded and I think if we address that, it can be a handy short-term measure.”