BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
The Botswana Railways (BR) says it is implementing its growth strategy which contains a balance between short-term actions and longer-term actions to bring the business to consistent profitability.
BR Chief Executive Officer – Leonard Makwinja said this week that they are targeting recapturing the fuel business that they lost. The state owned Rail Company is also targeting new coal mines in Botswana which will provide some growth in tonnage.
As part of its growth strategy, BR will also inject more wagons for carrying soda ash from Botash mine in Sowa Town.
“On service development, BR will introduce technological advancements such as e-advertising, tracking systems and modernise the passenger and commuter train,” said Makwinja.
He further spoke of diversification where he stated that BR will through its subsidiary BR Properties is investing in property development and passenger trains stations as ‘life style centres’ .
Makwinja also singled out the Mosetse – Kazungula rail link as key to BR growth strategy. The project is characterised by providing a railway line from Mosetse in Botswana, connecting to Zambia and beyond through the Kazungula bridge. The rail line is part of the North South Corridor (NSC).
On the project benefits, Makwinja said it will connect Central African region to maritime ports in South Africa as well as reduction of haulage traffic on roads.
“This is an opportunity for tourism industry. It is an alternative transport mode for Agricultural products from Pandamatenga Farms in Botswana,” said Makwinja.
Another project on the pipeline is the Mmamabula ÔÇô Lephalale rail link which is targeting over 200 billion coal deposits in Botswana (at least two thirds of Africa’s coal resource). The project aims to link the coal deposits to South African heavy haul lines.
“These projects are at feasibility study. Transactional advisor will be sought after the feasibility study if need be,” Makwinja concluded.
Meanwhile BR Express is also expected to launch a Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) for commuter services carrying a minimum of 280 passengers.