The 2011 dream of bringing to life the country’s part of Nacala Corridor came into fruition on Friday following inauguration of the KachasoNkaya railway section of the $4.9 billion (about K3.6 trillion) Nacala Railway Corridor Project.
The launch, at Mkwinda Campsite in Neno, follows the agreement for the construction of the new 20.5-tonne axle load railway which was signed between the Government of Malawi and Vale Logistics Limited in 2011 through a 30- year Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
This is part of an integrated logistics corridor in Malawi and Mozambique comprising 912 kilometre railway connecting Tete, Moatize Coal Mine, through Malawi, to Port Nacala- à-Velha Multi-User Terminal which has been financed by Vale.
Started in 2012, the Nacala corridor project has been led by Brazillian mining conglomerate Vale and Mozambique’s State port and railway operator CFM, with support from Mitsui of Japan.
For Malawi, Nacala Corridor provides short access to the sea. The corridor stretches from Chipata, Zambia passing through Liwonde in Malawi to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala, Nacala Port is currently ranked third among Mozambique ports in cargo and container handling, after Maputo and Beira.
Speaking during the event, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango said the new railway section will go a long way to realise the aspirations of Malawians in transport and infrastructure development.
“The hallmark of Government policy in the sector is to create a safe and sustainable transport system that can foster a competitive operation of commercially viable, financially sustainable and environmentally friendly services.
“Government will ensure that the railway infrastructure is maintained and rehabilitated to the required standards and also ensure the reconstruction of closed sections such as the Limbe–Sandama—Makhanga— Marka railway sections,” he said.
In his remarks, chairperson of the boards of director of Nacala Corridor Logistics companies Renato Torres said this will help build a thriving society, especially for the countries without access to sea such as Malawi.
“We hope to see, in this corridor, the flow of dreams as the Indian Ocean opens the possibilities for many ventures. Through this infrastructure, on the import side, the Nacala Corridor will enhance the transport of fertiliser, diesel, wheat grain and general containerised cargo, with an average of 350 000 tonnes per year,” said Torres.
On the export side, our corridor moves the Malawian sugar, pigeon peas, tobacco, and tea towards the international market, 100 000 tonnes per year on average, with the capacity to increase this number by 3 fold [300 000],”he said.
Mozambican Minister of Transport and Communications of Mozambique, Carlos Mesquita said apart from boosting trade and promoting efficient transportation of goods, the two countries stand to enhance their economic statuses through enhanced economic activities along the Corridor.