Good news for Sena to Beira railway

Aug 2, 2003
Author: P&S

Mozambique’s transport minister Tomaz Salomao announced recently that all obstacles to the rebuilding of the Sena railway line, which leads in a northerly direction from Dondo just outside the harbour at Beira towards the coal mines at Moatize in the western Tete Province, have been removed.

The railway was extensively damaged during the civil war in Mozambique. Rehabilitation of the entire line as far as Sena is estimated to cost between USD100 and USD140 million.

The minister announced that approval to rebuild the entire line had been received from the World Bank, and the bank’s approval now means that finance will become available.

The World Bank earlier posed questions about the amount of traffic the line could be expected to carry and set this as a pre-condition to investment. In the meantime Mozambique has been busy rehabilitating the Sena railway from where it leaves the main Beira-Zimbabwe railway at Dondo to Muanza 90km further north.

Recent promises of investment in the Moatize coal mine would appear to have done the trick, as well as suggestions of developing a new deep water port approximately 40km north of Beira at Savane, capable of handling ships up to 100,000-dwt. Other cargoes likely to benefit from the reopening of the railway include sugar from Marromeu (using an existing branch line), timber, cotton and various agricultural products.

The railway reaches north to Sena and ultimately goes into the south of Malawi, therefore offering a second rail link to that landlocked country as well as opening transportation to the potentially rich Zambezi valley and Tete and Sofala provinces. A spur line leading in a north-westerly direction extends into the Tete province as far as the town of that name, passing the Moatize mines along the way.

According to reports Mozambique’s port and rail authority CFM was due to launch a tender process on 31 July inviting bids to lease and operate the Sena railway. Among those known to have an interest are South Africa’s Spoornet/NLPI consortium, which already has the lease to operate the line between Maputo and South Africa, and the Tenwin/China Railways Construction Company.

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