The Emerald and Semi-precious stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) says the Statutory Instrument which Transport Minister Brian Mushimba signed last week to move bulk cargo from Road to Rail, will decongest the road network.

On Friday last week, Mushimba signed a Statutory Instrument to compel transporters of heavy goods to move 30 percent of their haulage from road to railway.

And Mushimba said the SI which would take effect within the next 30 days was aimed at preserving roads and to also boost the railway sector in the country.

Commenting on the decision in an interview with News Diggers! yesterday, ESMAZ president Victor Kalesha commended government and expressed confidence that revamping operations of the railway system would create more jobs in the country.

“The Emerald and Semi precious stones Mining Association of Zambia would like to commend the Minister of Transport and Communications, Brian Mushimba for signing a statutory instrument to compel transporters of heavy cargo to move 30 % of their bulk cargo to be moving by rail. It is a very welcome move because it will decongest some of the roads to a certain percentage. It could at least decongest our roads by 30 percent. And on the other hand the move will create more jobs in the sector because the more cargo goes into the rail station, the more staff will have to be employed. So it is a very commendable move and a welcome one,” Kalesha said.

However, Kalesha expressed concern over the condition of the country’s railway system and said that goods might be taking longer to reach their destinations.

“I think to me and looking at the whole scenario, it’s a very good move and it should be supported and it’s actually long overdue because we could have started using the rail lines a long time ago to move heavy cargo. So let this move compel the Zambia railways to improve on its transport systems so that it eases even the transportation of cargo by the companies and the transporters that want to transport their goods through rail,” said kalesha.

“The concern, however, would be that the cargo maybe taking too long before it gets to the actual destination. I think on this one, all we can say is that government should improve on the rail systems so that we can have goods reaching even on the same day with the one moving by road.”