Original Research

Rail freight transportation concerns of developing economies: A Namibian perspective

Fanny Saruchera
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 11 | a288 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v11i0.288 | © 2017 Fanny Saruchera | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 2016 | Published: 24 May 2017

About the author(s)

Fanny Saruchera, Department of Marketing and Logistics, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia

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Background: Although rail transport appears to be well established and outperforming other transport modes in Europe and beyond, in the majority of developing economies it was observed that firms and travellers were, on the contrary, shunning from the rail. Despite considerable infrastructural investments in the African rail systems, the sector has been deteriorating over the years.

Objectives: This study identifies the freight rail transportation problems faced by African developing economies, focusing on Namibia, and examines the potential actions and factors for minimising such problems, drawing lessons from some of the developed world’s success stories.

Method: The objectives of this study are achieved through a survey of Windhoek-based industrial and logistics firms operating in Namibia. Self-administered survey questionnaires were distributed through the aid of trained research assistants.

Results: The study’s results show that some of the reasons of shunning rail transport are a matter of attitude, whereas some are related to operational challenges. The study confirms that the transport mode used and ownership of the freight transport services used can affect the degree of satisfaction for the transportation of goods in Namibia.

Conclusion: Namibian industrial and logistics firms avoid using rail, owing to its low level of satisfaction obtained from its use. Besides engaging in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in rail transport operations, the study contends that rail transport should receive attention similar to that given to other transport modes for African economies such as Namibia to overcome the costs associated with the increasing road congestion.


rail freight transport; developing economies; Namibia


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