Central East African Railways (Cear), the concessionaire firm of the country’s railway system, has challenged Malawian businesses to seize the opportunity and fully utilise the Nacala corridor and the port to reduce their cost of imports and exports.
“We have invested quite heavily on the track safety and speed. We have also invested in the Nacala Port [in Mozambique] in terms of facilities and equipment to serve the Malawian business community better,” said Cear managing director Hendry Chimwaza at the end of the tour of the corridor and the port by a Malawian delegation of private sector, government officials and journalists.
The tour of the port via the Nacala corridor, which is about 700 kilometres (km) was initiated by fuel and energy regulator Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) to assess port facilities to ensure that the traffic of fuel from the deep port is increased.
Currently, the bulk of Malawi’s fuel comes in through Beira Port in Mozambique, in the south east and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the northern corridor.
Chimwaza implored on the use of the rail transport because it is cheap and capable of moving goods in bulk.
Thus far, he said Cear has invested 12 locomotives and new passenger coaches while their partner in Mozambique, Northern Corridor Development (CDN), which operates railway system north of Mozambique and Nacala port, has 32 locomotives.
He said since the rehabilitation of the railway line in the two countries by the world’s second largest mining company Vale of Brazil, the speed on the rail has improved to around 70 kilometres per hour (kph) from around 20kph and chances of derailment has dropped to almost zero.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Malawi branch manager Fyner Bakali underscored the importance of the corridor in terms safety of cargo, speed and cost for importers and exporters.
Vale is currently moving 22 million of tonnes (MT) of coal and cargo from Moatize on the western side of Mozambique through Malawi to Nacala in the east.
Currently, Vale has 51 percent stake in CDN, a partner firm for Cear.