NRZ problems hamper sugar exports

Eric Chiriga

ZIMBABWE Sugar Refinery (ZSR) says it is failing to supply sufficient sugar quantities for export because of delays and inefficiency by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). <
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“The erratic supply of rail wagons and locomotives by the National Railways of Zimbabwe caused delays in railing sufficient quantities of sugar to the port for export,” ZSR chairman Godfrey Gomwe said.


He said all shipments under the African Caribbean Countries and various other preferential quotas had been delayed.


The NRZ is facing serious operational problems because of a shortage of locomotives and rail wagons. To operate viably, NRZ requires at least 108 wagons but it has only 60 that are usable.


The parastatal is paying Spoornet, a South African rail service provider, a total of R6 million every month because it is failing to return wagons it had borrowed.


Gomwe said the unavailability of locomotives coupled with the shortage of coal was adversely affecting the supply of sugar on the local market.


“The domestic market sugar off-take was 9% as compared to the previous year,” he said. “This was principally a result of production bottlenecks experienced at the refineries in Bulawayo and Harare due to shortage of coal coupled with the unavailability of locomotives and rail wagons to transport the raw sugar from the Lowveld to the respective refineries.”


Gomwe said sugar production for the year 2003 was 501 423 tonnes, a decrease of 14% as compared to the previous year.

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