Business community along the shores of Lake Malawi has hailed the move by the international construction conglomerate Mota Engil in taking over the operations of the ports.
Through its subsidiary the Malawi Ports Company, Mota Engil will now make an initial investment of about $1million (K350 million) in correcting the damage on the ports ahead of subsequent investments on the Lake shores.
“We are glad that finally Malawi water transport has been rejuvenated. This will breathe a new life into the sector, some of us will easily be dealing with partners in Mozambique side of Metangula and Likoma Islands,” said Massa Assani a businessman in Nkhotakota district.
Another businessman Justin Makako plying his trade at Chipoka Port said Mota Engil’s decision has proven that Malawi has a potential in water transport.
“Malawi is now waking up to realisation that its natural resources are wealth. Mota Engil as a business entity couldn’t have taken over the concession if there was no business return on the lake,” he said.
Following the 2012 ports agreement which will last for 35 years, Mota Engil will control the operations of Monkey Bay, Chipoka, Nkhotakota, Nkhatabay and Chilumba ports employing hundreds of local Malawians and spur tourism and trade.
Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, handed over the management and operation of Lake Malawi ports to Mota-Engil at Chipoka Port in Salima on Saturday, following a signing ceremony on the management and operation of the ports along Lake Malawi between government and the firm last year.
The concession, among other things, grants the concessionaire the right to finance, manage, operate and maintain the Malawi Lake Ports for a period of 35 years as provided in the Concession Agreement.