Capital Hill has given its formal approval to Portuguese construction and industrial conglomerate Mota-Engil to start constructing a dry port at Liwonde in Machinga expected to cost about $200 million (K114 billion).
Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila said the project will have a significant impact on the transport sector. He said in an interview in Lilongwe last week Friday that Mota-Engil has since formed Liwonde Logistics Platform Limited, to facilitate the dry port project.
“I can confirm that we recently gave Mota-Engil an approval to start construction of the dry port. It was important that we fast-track the process so that the company can get a loan from one of the banks in South Africa and compensate people on the land where the port will be built before the actual work starts,” he said.
Kasaila said since rail transport is generally cheap, there are expectations that the cost of transportation of goods from the deep sea port of Nacala in Mozambique will reduce by about 60 percent which will trickle down to the consumers.
“At its full operation, we expect more people to directly benefit through employment and increased business opportunities,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Mota-Engil expressed excitement with the project as it will help Malawi regain its position in the world from a landlocked country to a hinterland with modern and high standard link to Nacala.
The Liwonde Dry Port will be located on the junction of two main rail lines and will also serve as a trade hub.