Coastal shipping can make a difference in the movement of goods, according to Carlos Mesquita, Minister of Transport and Communications, and, along with railway transport, is one of the priorities in the ongoing campaign to transform Mozambique into a Southern African paradigm of logistical excellence.
The government is implementing a strategy for the integrated development of Mozambique’s transport system to serve not only the national economy but also neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, which do not have direct access to the sea.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Carlos Mesquita, says coastal shipping (cabotage) has the advantage of not requiring a lot of expenditure, since Mozambique already has the good fortune of a 2,700 kilometre coastline and need only create conditions to attract private sector investment.
Addressing the first joint Mozambique-Canada business forum in Maputo recently, Mesquita said: “We have the sea, what do we do with it? Last year the country was divided into two parts as a result of floods that disrupted roads of central Mozambique. Freight had to be sent through neighbouring countries. And the sea is waiting for us there.”
Mesquita said that the government is currently working on legal aspects of cabotage to give the private sector more opportunity, and a document on the matter is submitted to the Council of Ministers soon.
“Maritime cabotage is a good sustainable way to transport goods. Local producers would have facilities for the transport of their products to potential markets,” the minister said, adding that the rehabilitation of smaller ports would also be required.
Meteorology is another government priority. Mesquita said. The government would this year acquire two new weather radar facilities for central and northern Mozambique, completing coverage of the country and permitting weather events to be better predicted.
“We need to improve the country’s navigability, whether by sea or air”, Mesquita said.
“In the transport sector, we need to modernize and expand our rail and port infrastructure, particularly in the south, consisting of the Maputo port and the railways of Ressano Garcia, Limpopo and Goba. Looking beyond our own borders, this will benefit South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, ” Mesquita said.
Mesquita cited the Beira and Nacala development corridors as serving the national economy and other countries in the region, including Malawi and Zambia.
“Looking at the short term, we foresee the rehabilitation and commissioning of the Cuamba – Lichinga railway line in June, the rehabilitation and modernization the port of Nacala, early in August and the finishing in December of the new railway bridge at Boane.”
In the medium to long term, Mesquita mentioned the construction of the port at Macuzi and the Tete-Macuzi railway line , the opening of Techobanine port and the Techobanine-Morupule railway line and the rehabilitation of the railway line to Ressano Garcia.
Also in the rail and port area, the governor spoke of the rehabilitation of the Mutarara-Vila Nova da Fronteira extension linking Mozambique and Malawi and the development of pier 11 and the coal terminal future at pier 13 in Beira port.
In implementing the strategy for the integrated development of the transport system, Mesquita said that the executive was opting for public-private partnerships in order to expand development opportunities’
“The Government’s five-year 2015-2019 program has as its central objective improving the living conditions of the Mozambican people, and defines the development of economic and social infrastructures as one of the priorities of its intervention. The success of the government’s five-year plan in different areas requires the ongoing prioritization of interventions to meet the challenges that arise in every moment of the country’s life,” the minister concluded.
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