China Railway Construction Corp, one of the largest rail construction contractors, said on Thursday it has signed an agreement with the Zambian government for a 15.09 billion yuan ($2.26 billion) railway line.
The line will link Chipata and Serenje in the east of the country. The single-track railway will be 388.8 kilometers in length. Passenger trains will travel at a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, and freight trains at 80 kilometers per hour.
Beijing-based CRCC said the project is projected to last four years, ranging from design to construction under the contract.
"In the short term, CRCC's overseas business has huge growth potential, as the county pushes forward the Belt and Road Initiative," Xia Tian, construction analyst at Essence Securities, wrote in a research note late last month.
The contract was signed between China Civil Engineering Construction Corp, a unit of CRCC, and Zambia's Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications. The contract value accounted for 2.51 percent of CCECC's revenue in 2015, according to the company.
The net income of CRCC reached 9.123 billion yuan in the first nine months of 2016, up 12.43 percent year-on-year. In the same period, its revenue increased 2.62 percent year-on-year to 423.885 billion yuan.
Having a presence in 78 countries and regions, it has won orders worth 679 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year, representing year-on-year growth of 22.04 percent.
Chinese rail construction project providers such as CRCC and China Railway Group have been seeking investment opportunities on the continent.
Prior to the project in Zambia, China also helped with railroad construction and supplied trains to the new railway line between Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The project was officially opened for operation in early October.
The $4 billion railway stretches 751.7 kilometers and is able to carry trains traveling at speeds of up to 120 kph. The service cuts the travel time between the two nations' capitals from seven days by road to just 10 hours.