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Zambia, Congo, Tanzania railways sign deal to free up traffic

LUSAKA – The national railways of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania have signed an agreement to make it easier to transport goods such as copper by rail between the countries, an official said on Monday.

Until now, railway traffic has often been held up by paperwork and procedures such as unloading goods for inspection at every border crossing.

Railway companies in Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, will now pick up copper from the mines for direct transportation to the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Zambia Railways (Tazara) spokesperson Conrad Simuchile told Reuters.

Zambia exports the bulk of its copper through the port of Durban in South Africa. Most mining companies transport the metal by road because railway transport has been unreliable.

With this agreement in place, cargo can now move in either direction from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to New Kapiri-Mposhi in central Zambia and Lubumbashi in Congo and vice versa without a lot of customs and other procedural complications, Simuchile said.

Mining companies operating in Zambia include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, Vedanta Resources Plc, Glencore International and Barrick Gold Corp.

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