Zim airport handler NHS courts local banks for $5,5 million to retool

Zim airport handler NHS courts local banks for $5,5 million to retool

By Kuda Chideme, HARARE, June 29 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s state owned cargo handling firm, National Handling Services (NHS) says it is in talks with local banks — CBZ and NMB — to borrow up to $5,5 million to upgrade its equipment which officials said is in a deplorable state.

NHS, a former subsidiary of Air Zimbabwe was unbundled from the national airline in 2012 to improve operational efficiencies. It is one of only two cargo handling companies in the country.

Acting General manager Godknows Marawanyika on Wednesday told a parliamentary committee on transport that NHS at times borrows equipment from its competitor Aviation Ground Services (AGS).

Marawanyika said financial requirements for retooling would amount to $5,5 million.

“We are aware of the fact that government is unable to finance our operations so we are negotiating with our bankers. We have engaged CBZ and NMB to support us,” he said.

“In the short to medium-term we need about $2,2 million which mostly will cater for the increased capacity at Victoria Falls. NMB has already given us a facility of $450,000,”

Last year, NHS handled 6,100 flights but volumes are this year expected to grow after the completion of the Victoria Falls airport upgrade.

The airport is undergoing a $150 million face lift funded by the Chinese to boost its aircraft handling capacity and tourism in the resort town and is expected to be ready for commissioning in September.