Member States shall facilitate the provision of a seamless, efficient, predictable, cost-effective, safe and environmentally-friendly railway service which is responsive to market needs and provides access to major centres of population and economic activity.

In order to attain railway’s objectives, Member States agree to develop a harmonised regional railway policy in respect of –

a) the economic and institutional restructuring of railways in a phased and co-ordinated manner, which shall include consideration of the following –

(i) according autonomy to railways in order to enable them to achieve full commercialisation by, amongst others, streamlining railway organisations, reforming management and upgrading essential railway labour and improving labour productivity;

(ii) increasing private sector involvement in railway investment with a view to improving railway work and service standards and lowering unit costs for services;

(iii) enhancing operational synergy amongst the various railway service providers in the Region; and

(iv) promoting the establishment of an integrated transport system as set out in Chapter 3 which supports fair competition between railway service providers on the one hand and the providers of other transport services on the other; and

b) the expansion and strengthening of Governments’ capacity to –

(i) provide definitive policy frameworks;

(ii) develop supportive regulatory and investor-friendly legislation; and

(iii) monitor compliance with such policy and legislation.

1. Member States agree to monitor the adequacy of permanent way and rolling stock required to meet regional developmental needs.

2. In order to attain the objective stated in paragraph 1, Member States shal1 develop complementary strategies aimed at, amongst others –

a) encouraging private sector technology transfers and investment in permanent way and rolling stock provisioning and maintenance;

b) identifying options to lower maintenance costs which shall include the undertaking of research on the development of regional capacity to manufacture railway spare parts, facilities and equipment;

c) sharing resources along regional corridors; and

d) standardising inspection and maintenance procedures for rolling stock.

1. Member States shall facilitate co-operation amongst railways in the Region with regard to –

a) the development of an integrated regional network of railway corridors;

b) the enhancement of the safety of railway operations, which may include –

(i) adopting common safety rules and regulations governing railway signs, signals and rolling stock;

(ii) standardising accident investigation procedures:

(iii) developing and implementing common rules for the placement and securing of loads in open top wagons and flat wagons; and

(iv) adopting applicable and appropriate standards on the safe movement of cargo and passengers;

c) the development of common standards for customer services, which includes –

(i) the development of uniform conditions of railway carriage throughout the regional railway system;

(ii) the provision of regionally synchronized scheduled railway services; and

(iii) the provision of trackage rights;

d) promoting data information exchange, which includes –

(i) the development of a harmonised and compatible system of data collection, collation and exchange including the establishment of a centralised database aimed at the provision of regular and reliable statistics in support of regional railway planning;

(ii) development and maintenance of a RSIS aimed at improved predictability of service, efficient utilisation of rolling stock and the provision of information to customers on their shipments; and

(iii) development and maintenance of a freight container information and management system;

e) the establishment of adequate, appropriate and advanced telecommunications links amongst railways in the Region;

f) the development of harmonised and simplified procedures and documents and a common freight nomenclature such as the Harmonised System of Freight Nomenclature with a view to establishing a single railway invoicing system which is acceptable for customs clearance throughout the SADC Region and which is compatible with that of other transport modes;

g) the establishment of regional railway costing principles and the establishment of a regional system for account settlement which provides for simplified payment procedures as well as account settlement procedures;

h) the pooling of railway resources such as motive power and rolling stock, equipment, materials and workshops for efficient utilisation on a regional basis; and

i) the development of performance indicators which may include –

(i) traffic performance indicators relating to rolling stock utilisation and efficiency measurement;

(ii) equipment performance indicators relating to the utilisation of equipment and no fault maintenance performance which ensures locomotive and rail reliability;

(iii) labour productivity indicators; and

(iv) financial performance indicators.

Member States shall promote the development and implementation of compatible technical standards in respect of infrastructure and operational equipment, which shall include taking cognisance of the following – a) Infrastructure equipment – (i) signalling systems; (ii) telecom munication equipment; (iii) permanent way equipment; (iv) line-side equipment; and (v) station equipment. b) operational equipment – (i) locomotives; (ii) wagons; (iii) coaches; and (iv) maintenance and workshop equipment.
Member States shall promote the adoption of common safety rules and regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials.
Member States shall co-operate in enhancing the capacity and capability of human resources in the Region to ensure that personnel keep abreast of new developments in technology and regional standards and procedures and maintain similar and adequate standards of performance through – a) the development of a common syllabus for the training of – (i) rolling stock inspection and maintenance personnel; and (ii) crews and train operating staff, to ensure similar standards and quality of inspection and maintenance; b) the development of common standards for competence evaluation and certification of such staff and, as an interim measure, the reciprocal recognition of qualifications to facilitate cross-border operations and the movement of personnel within the Region; and c) the joint provision of training and the development of a directory of training specialisations and centres.
1. Member States shall encourage regional railway stakeholders to constitute regional bodies in the manner contemplated in Article 13.13 of this Protocol and for such bodies to obtain consultative status in the manner contemplated in Article 13.6 of this Protocol. 2. Member States shall, pursuant to the principles contained in Chapter 3 in respect of corridor planning, establish bi- or multilateral Railways Route Management Groups on routes to be agreed upon. 3. Railway Route Management Groups shall support the activities of regional railways and the Corridor Planning Committees contemplated in Article 3.5 of this Protocol and facilitate the provision of a seamless, efficient and cost-effective railway service on the corridors they serve. 4. Railway Route Management Groups shall define their own functions and devise their own procedures in accordance with the objectives of this Protocol: Provided that such groups shall report annually on their activities to the multimodal Corridor Planning Committees contemplated in Article 3.5 of this Protocol.


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The current SARA strategy addresses five strategic focus areas of advocacy and lobbying, infrastructure development, railway operations, resource mobilisation, marketing and publicity and safety.

Current SARA Members