BULAWAYO, Thursday, August 15, 1991 — The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) last week joined those who say the Container Depot (Pvt) Ltd facilities in Bulawayo are inadequate to meet the expected sharp increase in the flow of cargo to support the economic reform programme.
The terminal facilities have already been condemned by both importers and the Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe 15member Matabeleland branch.
The NRZ has also been accused of failing to shunt wagons to the depot so that containers can be checked before being delivered to importers.
Responding to the accusations, NRZ public relations officer Mrs Grace Lupepe absolved the railways of any blame. “It must be clearly understood that the container terminal in Bulawayo is privately owned,’’ she said.
Mrs Lupepe said the NRZ was aware of the depot’s limitations. “The NRZ is aware of the delays which occur at Condep and we are also unhappy about the delays.
“Condep was designed to handle a limited capacity of traffic and, with an upsurge in container traffic, the depot is failing to cope,’’ said Mrs Lupepe.
She denied that NRZ was failing to shunt wagons carrying vital imports to the depot. “We are not failing to shunt to the private siding but the holding capacity is the determining factor. Because of this some wagons were kept in the yard. Customs clearance was another problem,” she said.
“Containers cannot be released unless they are cleared by customs. If the container is held on the wagon after the expiry of the free period, demurrage applies.’’