AFRICA: Diversified logistics company Unitrans Africa has launched dedicated rail freight services between the Port of Maputo in Mozambique and three trading hubs at Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru in Zimbabwe.

Based at Kenilworth in South Africa, Unitrans has negotiated access agreements with National Railways of Zimbabwe and Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique to operate the trains through a public-private partnership. It anticipates that the new services will enable importers and exporters across sub-Saharan Africa to make use of Maputo’s multi-purpose deep-water port, which is managed by DP World. This strategically located facility benefits from extensive road and rail connections throughout Southern Africa, as well as shipping routes to the Middle East, Europe and eastern Asia

To operate the trains, Unitrans is leasing locomotives and rolling stock from Traxtion Group, including some of the recently acquired Afro4000s built by Vossloh, which the lessor described as the most powerful diesel locomotives in Africa.

‘As well as promoting new trade opportunities for customers in both Zimbabwe and Maputo, this dedicated rail service will reduce transit times, cut costs and offer a more reliable service, as previously goods needed to be transported via road’, explained Unitrans Africa CEO Rob Hayworth.

‘The positive economic impact of this more cost- and time-efficient trade corridor will be felt throughout the region, promoting business confidence amongst Unitrans Africa’s customer-base. We look forward to growing and developing this positive trade solution as we engage and respond to our customers’ changing needs. Agility and innovation is core to our business strategy.’