BCL closure presses BR's freight volumes to decade low

Railway PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Railway PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

A drop in freight volumes, owing largely to the closure of BCL and Tati Nickel mines, contributed to a 13% drop in goods revenues at Botswana Railways to P280.7 million in 2017.

Statistics Botswana figures published on Tuesday indicate that last year’s revenues were the lowest since 2012, when the rail carrier posted top line earnings of P293 million. 

The reduced revenue last year was due to a 25% drop in tonnes moved, which were pegged at 1.5 million tonnes by the end of December. The tonnes moved, which encompass local freight, transit, imports and exports, represent the lowest recorded by Botswana Railways in the last ten years. 

From an average of about 514,000 tonnes moved per quarter in 2016, freight volumes at Botswana Railways fell to an average of 386,000 tonnes per quarter in 2017.


The drop appears attributable to the October 2016 closure of BCL and Tati Nickel mines, which were among the major tonnage and revenue anchors for Botswana Railways.

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