The 389km line will run east from a junction with the 1067mm-gauge Lusaka - Mpika - Nakonde line at Serenje to Petauke and Chipata, where it will meet the existing line to Lilongwe in Malawi and the port of Nacala in Mozambique.

The $US 2.3bn railway will reduce the distance by rail from Kapiri M’poshi, Zambia, to the Indian Ocean to 1500km.