Portuguese industrial conglomerate Mota-Engil, concessionaire of water transportation in Malawi, has asked for improved regulatory framework to ensure that water transport service is not flooded with unseaworthy vessels, which will create unfair competition.
Mota-Engil, which was awarded a shipping concession in 2010 by Malawi Government and formed Malawi Shipping Company (MSC)—a vehicle to manage and operate Malawi Lake Services— has committed itself to improving shipping services on Lake Malawi and undertake investment obligations that government requested in the concession agreement.
The firm’s managing director Jose Dinis Da Silva told Business Review this week if the regulatory framework and enforcement regime is improved, competition in the water transport sector will be fair.
“The regulatory framework in water transport and its enforcement regime need to be improved in terms of professionalism and enforcement efficiency because if this will not be done, unsafe vessels and illegal operations will flood the market, resulting in unfair competition and all the intended investment could be in vain.
“Malawi Shipping Company wants to see fair competition and a shipping regime that will better serve Malawians and its economy,” he said.
According to da Silva, Mota-Engil realises that inadequate funding to the law enforcement regime in water transport has resulted in inefficient enforcement of various legal statutes under the shipping Act.
He suggested to government that concession fees that MSC pays to government should be used to support safety structures on the lake.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila said government is pleased with the investment that Mota-Engil has made in the transport sector and promised that the challenges the company is facing will sorted out.
“We are aware of the problems that they are currently facing and we hope together we can find a solution. There is need to reduce the time it takes to load and offload at some of our ports such as Nkhotakota and Likoma by a constructing jetty,” he said.
He assured Mota-Engil that government will provide appropriate legal framework so that the company’s investment is protected.
MSC run services for both passengers and cargo on Lake Malawi, as well as shipyard activities.