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Makomo engages SA firm

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HWANGE — Coal miner Makomo Resources has hired four wagons from South African logistics giant Grindrod Limited to move coal from its Hwange mining operations to small power stations across the country, in a bid to improve supply to the main consumer-Zimbabwe Power Company.

Grindrod is fast taking over rail business on the Zimbabwean part of the north-south corridor which links the ports of Durban and Richards Bay to the Copperbelt in northern Zambia after it snapped an 85% stake in Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway (BBR) early this year.

Makomo Resources general manager Samson Mabvira told The Source on Monday that the four wagons, which are still in South Africa, would be in the country soon.

“We hired them from Grindrod. We are expecting them in the country any time,” he said, although he could not shed light on how much they would pay to the South African company.

Mabvira said the wagons were expected to carry 2 000 tonnes of coal per load and the decision was taken after the withdrawal of many road transporters, while problems at the National Railways of Zimbabwe continue to affect efficiency. He said the company was struggling to pay transporters in time because its major customer ZPC was taking long to pay for coal supplies.

Makomo and ZPC have, however, agreed on a payment arrangement although this has not been enough to stop transporters pulling out.

“The main problem is that we cannot get a guarantee of prompt payment from ZPC so it is always difficult to convince transporters to hang on.”

Mabvira said both Grindrod and NRZ would pull the wagons.

Johannesburg-listed Grindrod has made inroads into Zimbabwe’s southern rail system with its acquisition of BBR, through which it now owns the 350km Beitbridge to Bulawayo line.

Because of increasing coal business in Matabeleland North, the company has deployed four brand new diesel-electric 3 000 HP locomotives for its Zimbabwe operations.

The company has also put up $2 million to refurbish old locomotives in Bulawayo as it seeks to improve its capacity to carry more goods along the line.

— The Source

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