Malawi government has handed over the operations and management of major shipping ports on Lake Malawi to the newly incorporated Malawi Ports Company, a subsidiary of Mota-Engil.
Speaking on behalf of Secretary for Transport and Public works, Director of Finance and Administration, James Chirwa, said during ceremony that took place Saturday, that considering shipping is a capital intensive business government initiated policy reforms in the water transport sub-sector.
“The general objective of those reforms was to encourage the private sector to promote the development and operation of an economically justified transport system for all lakes and major rivers in order to foster and sustain accessibility and ensure the safe, affordable and reliable movement of goods and people including those with disabilities,” he said,
Ports, he added, are an important component in the whole supply chain.
“It is in this light that government granted the Malawi Shipping Company a 35 year Shipping Services Concession in 2010. I am reliably informed that the shipping services concession has already started bearing positive fruits.”
In order to attract much needed investment in the Malawi Lake Ports, Government signed on 14th March, 2012 another concession agreement with Mota-Engil (Malawi) culminating into the hand over at Chipoka Port.
“I am pleased to report that out of the 115 employees at the three major ports of Chipoka, Nkhata-Bay and Chilumba, 79 employees have freely opted to join your newly incorporated company, the Malawi Ports Company while 16 employees have opted to retire completely from service and 20 employees have opted to remain in Government,” he added.
The 20 employees are being deployed in various departments within the ministry of Transport and Public Works.
On his part, Mota-Engil (Malawi) Managing Director, Jose Dinis, said shipping is an important mode of transport in an economy like Malawi where the public craves for a cheap mode of transport as provided by shipping.
However, he said, shipping operations cannot succeed without properly functioning Ports.
“When Malawi Shipping Company signed the Lake Services Concession in 2010, operations have been hampered due to poor port services. If Ports can not function efficiently and effectively, shipping can not succeed and this drives importers and exporters away from using water transport,” Dinis said.
He also said as Malawi Ports Company takes over the Ports government is assured, that with the assistance of the mother company, Mota-Engil, “reasonable investment” would be injected to improve the condition of the Ports by undertaking maintenance of the Ports infrastructure, equipment and training of Port staff.
“A Port expansion Programme is also on the cards as new cargoes are envisaged”, he said.
The actual handover signing ceremony of Monkey Bay, Chipoka, Nkhata Bay and Chilumba Ports took place aboard the revamped M.V. Ilala.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :