Cash strapped TAZARA suspends train operations

by Trust Matsilele 0

Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has suspended all train operations between the two countries.

TAZARA operates trains between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and New Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia. The organisation says it is going to reimburse passengers who had purchased tickets. The suspension follows the withdrawal of labour by unionised employees in these two countries.

(READ MORE: Tanzania, Zambia to invest $80 mln in cash-strapped rail firm)

The transport authority said it had failed to meet most operational costs, the bulk of which include expenses for running spares for locomotives and rolling stock, fuel and salaries for employees.

“As a result of the longstanding operational challenges that have seen TAZARA operating at a loss for more than ten years now, losses that have now reached a crisis level,” read part of the statement released by TAZARA.

“In the last few months, the management had appealed to the employees to exercise further patience whilst long-term sustainable solutions were being sought in conjunction with the shareholders in order to end the perennial operational challenges.”

According to the statement, the employees in both regions of Tanzania and Zambia communicated that they would no longer wait for the promised solutions and opted to down tools to press for the immediate payment of the unpaid salaries covering the last five months.

TAZARA has since requested the two shareholders to provide further guidance on the matter.

In the meantime, all stations have been instructed to refund intending passengers who were booked to travel on our passenger trains this week.