Coaches operating between Malawi and South Africa are making losses due to challenging economic environment in the country.
Two coach operators, Nkhunzi and Intercape, confirmed in separate interviews with Business Review that they are charging K22 500 (about R670) from Malawi to South Africa and K37 000 (about R1 000) from South Africa to Malawi because most Malawians are economically squeezed following the devaluation of the kwacha.
Intercape manager (Malawi Branch) Anthony Mhlongo said economic climate is forcing them to operate at a loss on the Lilongwe-Johannesburg route.
â€œWe did our survey which revealed that Malawians cannot afford K34 500 [about $138], which is a normal charge, from Malawi to South Africa. This is why we settled for K22 500 [about $90]. We hope the economy will soon rebound so that we can charge K34 500 on both legs,â€ said Mhlongo.
Nkhunzi operations manager Nissie Thomas said by charging K22 500, they just want to recoup its operational costs although it is tough to break even.
â€œWe are not making profits at all. The charge is just to ensure that we continue operating on the route. We hope with the fuel shortage over and the forex problem improving, things will soon change,â€ said Thomas.
When the economy was buoyant, over 10 coaches were operating on the route, but now only five are operating: Nkhunzi, Intercape, Chiwale Coaches, Munorurama and KM Logistics.