The port of Nacala is Mozambique's most northerly port situated at Longitude 40º 40' E and 14º 27' S, on the south side of Baia deBengo, a large and sheltered bay 60m deep and 800m wide at the entrance. Nacala Bay is the deepest natural bay on the east coast of Africa.
The Nacala harbour serves its own hinterland and landlocked Malawi to the west, which is served by a 914km railway. Nacala port and railway is concessioned to Portos do Norte SA, a consortium that includes the Brazilian mining group Vale Mozambique. Cargo handled includes cement, petrol, grains, containers, and various construction materials for the railway and new port. A new coal port is planned in Nacala Bay, Nacala-a-Velha to export coal mined near Moatize in Tete Province.
Because of it natural deep water and sheltered position Nacala has no restrictions on ship movement or size. Pilotage is however compulsory, ships being boarded 2 n.miles 237º from the Nacala lighthouse, unless strong winds are blowing in which case pilots then board within the bay.
The port has a single tug of 1,150 horsepower and a pilot boat.
In 2012 the Port of Nacala handled 700,000 tonnes of cargo but is on stream to increase that to well in excess of one million tonnes in 2013. The port has handled 45,000 TEUs in the six months to June 2013 and annually Nacala handles approximately 200 ships of all types
Nacala has four general cargo berths and one for containers. Bunkering is available by road tanker with a pipeline at the general cargo berths. The railway which has its terminus at Nacala, links with the Central East African Railway (CEAR) in Malawi and will in the near future have an extended link with the coalfields of Moatize in Mozambique's Tete province.