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The Tanzania-Zambia Railway, or Tazara, will boosting its freight-handling capacity by at least a third to handle rising mineral exports from Zambia and Congo’s Katanga province, a senior company official told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Tazara Marketing Manager Hatchwell Musowoya said the company has contracted U.S.-based General Electric Co. (GE) to overhaul its locomotives and by the end of this year, Tazara expects to have overhauled at least a quarter of its main line locomotives. Up to 18 locomotives are expected to be overhauled by 2010.

Over the next two years, Tazara will also to purchase more freight wagons and shunting locomotives to handle more freight, mainly from the Copper Belt and Northwestern provinces of Zambia as well as Katanga where major copper-mining projects are underway.

“Effective next year, we expect to handle up to 800,000 metric tons of cargo, mainly minerals from Zambia and Congo,” he said.

Tazara connects land locked Zambia to the Tanzanian port of Dar Es Salaam and is the main export route for Zambia and Congo’s Katanga province. Currently, the railway line has the capacity to handle up to 600,000 tons of cargo a year but due to lack of investment, it has been operating below capacity.

-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; 256 75 262 4615;

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  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  08-05-08 0549ET
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