Go ahead for Nacala Corridor

Jul 1, 2003
Author: P&S

An agreement to create the first regional integrated port/railway transportation system for Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia was signed in Washington DC last Friday (27 June 2003).

The signing ceremony, officiated by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and attended by the presidents of Mozambique - Joaquim Chissano, Malawi - Justin Malewezi and Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa, formalises an agreement between the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the consortium responsible for the integrated port/railway transportation system. OPIC has pledged USD29.6 million to finance the project.

The Nacala Corridor consists of the Port of Nacala in Northern Mozambique, the Northern Railway network of Mozambique, and the Central East African Railways (CEAR) of Malawi.

After years of war and neglect and to improve overall operational efficiency, the government of Mozambique invited the private sector to participate in a concession for the corridor that will connect landlocked Malawi and Zambia to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala. The project will rehabilitate the 77-km section of the line between Cuamba and the border with Malawi at Entre Lagos and make infrastructural improvements aimed at improving drainage along the railway which is severely affected during the annual rainy season.

In addition the port of Nacala – the largest natural deepwater port on the East African Coast - is to be refurbished.

According to a joint statement issued in Washington, the successful completion of this project will help the signatories’ efforts to ‘significantly enhance their agricultural productivity and exports through increased access to expanded rail and port facilities, and provide a more direct and less costly means of transporting essential food aid to famine-stricken countries.’

The agreement states that the project would also serve as ‘tangible and long-term demonstration of US-Africa economic growth in the region,’ and would ‘contribute humanitarian co-operation in times of need.’

The consortium that has been awarded the concession to operate the port and railway consists of Railroad Development Corporation (USA), Manica (Mozambique), Mozambique private investors, and CFM (Mozambique’s port and railway administration). A new company has been formed to operate and manage the port and railway, known as Corredor de Desenvolvimento do Norte, (CDN) for the 15-year concession.

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