Completion of the Zambian part of the Mchinji-Mwami One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) holds key to the operationalisation of the facility, Malawi Government has said.
The project is funded by the African Development Bank to the tune of K7.1 billion as part of efforts to facilitate ease of transportation of goods and services along the Nacala Corridor.
Zambia and Malawi are in a joint one-stop border post project, but Malawi has made significant progress, with buildings on the Mchinji part completed last year while Zambia is still constructing its buildings.
Speaking on Wednesday when he toured the facility, Minister of Transport Jacob Hara said while the government would love to finish the project quickly, it cannot control the pace at which it progresses in Zambia.
He said: “We don’t know how long we will have to wait for our friends in Zambia, because we cannot control their speed. Let me emphasise that this is [part of] the Nacala Corridor that we are developing in transport, this is basically a route that we want to open.”
Hara said the project will open up the Malawian route to the sea ports by enabling faster clearance of goods to the advantage of transporters.
Mchinji Malawi Revenue Authority station manager Tapiwa Mzunga said currently, they are receiving a lot of traffic and they expect the one-stop border post to further increase the rate and reduce the trucks’ release rate.
She said on average, they clear about 80 to 100 trucks in a day, which generates revenue for the economy.
The alternative port of Durban is currently the preferred port for most shippers from Zambia and Malawi because of its efficiency, however, the Nacala Port is the closest, with Beira being slightly further and usually serving as a satellite port for the Port of Durban.
Phase I of the Mchinji-Mwami One-Stop Border Post project involved rehabilitation of 348 kilometres of road from Nampula to Cuamba in Mozambique and construction of 13 kilometres Western Bypass Road in the City of Lilongwe in Malawi. Phase II involves rehabilitation of 360 kilometres of road from Luangwa Bridge to Mwami Border in Zambia whereas Phase III involves rehabilitation of 175 kilometres of the Cuamba-Mandimba-Lichinga Road in Mozambique.