Quelimane Port much better option for Malawi than unrealistic Nsanje Inland Port

Landlocked Malawi has continuously searched for means of reducing the cost of doing international trade and related logistics. The cost of moving cargoto and from the various sea ports in neighbouring countries has a huge impact on the final delivery cost of commodities. This has rendered Malawian exports unattractive on the international market and makes imports very expensive.

Nsanje 'slab': Waiting for feasibility study to revive dreams of port

Nsanje ‘slab’: Waiting for feasibility study to revive dreams of port

It dawned on the then President of Malawi, late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, in October 2013 to launch Nsanje world Inland Port in a ceremony marked with colour and pomp. The function was attended by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Rupiah Banda of Zambia but the most notable absentee at the function was the then Mozambican President Guebuza. Sadly the ceremony ended in embarrassment as the supposedly test barge was detained in Mozambique for sailing in sovereign territorial waters without any authorization. This should have been common knowledge by Malawian authorities that to sail in foreign waters required a set of protocols and procedures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs exists to provide direction to the civil authorities when faced with such situations.

Despite the national embarrassment, Malawi has gone full throttle to market the inland port at several international forums with regard to completion and realization of the project. Sadly again, this is being done in the absence of a feasibility study, that will determine viability of the whole project. Currently afeasibility study is underway and from recent media reports it seems the study is nearing completion. Hopefully, the study results will be positive. But in the event that the results of the study are negative in the Malawian context, what will happen to the huge capital already invested in the quay side construction?

The authorities in Malawi have advanced the thinking that by having an inland port in Nsanje, the cost of importation will be effectively reduced by 60%. How the calculations were arrived at, is subject for another day. The need to reduce cost of inland haulage is real. It is obvious that Mozambique is dragging its feet on the Inland Waterway project due to a number of issues. It is an obvious fact that Mozambican transporters benefit hugely from Malawi’s landlocked status. Secondly there is a danger of losing revenues levied by the ports once Malawi imports cease using Mozambican Ports of Beira and Nacala. However the solution to Malawi’s landlocked woes cannot be achieved by pushing and shoving Mozambique to dance to Malawi’s tunes without following proper protocols and procedures.

In the event that the Nsanje Inland Port project goes ahead, a number of questions are worth asking. What are the practical realities that the overall cost of importation will go down? What is the projected user demand of the inland waterway? What is the capacity of the channel in terms of water level and the size of barges that will operate in the channel? What commodities are being targeted to utilize the waterway? Considering that there is a general shift from break-bulk towards cargo containerization, will the waterway attract enough business to make it commercially viable? Has the Malawian government engaged the shipping lines operating in Malawi with regard to implementation and operation of the waterway?

It is common knowledge that any port should be able to attract direct calls in order to be commercially viable. Do the import and export volumes out of Malawi warrant such direct calls? If the answer is yes, well and good. But if answer is no, then vessels and barges into Nsanje port will be feeder vessels picking up cargo from the same Beira and Nacala ports. This operation will simply increase transit time and handling costs since there will be double handling at Beira or Nacala and again at Nsanje.

When the cargo eventually gets discharged at Nsanje Port, there will be a requirement for inland transportation by either road or rail to the major commercial centres of Blantyre and Lilongwe. This again will be an additional cost considering the distances from Nsanje. All these factors put together increase the overall cost of importation, quite a setback to Malawi’s expectation.

A World Bank assessment conducted in 2004 concluded that the volume of trade for Malawi is small and Malawi is not generating enough traffic by itself to justify its own gateways. For instance petroleum imports for Malawi do not fill a tanker (vessel) and the container traffic of Malawi is only a fraction of the capacity of the port of Beira.

As a country, Malawi needs to swallow its pride and accept that Nsanje Port may never come to be. It is time to look at realistic and achievable options. Quelimane Port in Mozambique comes to mind. Quelimane Port has the shortest distance of all ports in Mozambique with regard to major towns in Malawi.

At only 306km to Blantyre, Quelimane Port presents an exciting prospect worth investigating and developing as it would drastically reduce transit times but also on-carriage cost. The Port is already developed and large container vessels operated by the major shipping lines call this particular port. Malawi can benefit from Quelimane Port by entering into bilateral agreements with Mozambique and engaging multi-lateral donors to finance construction of road infrastructure from Quelimane to Muloza border. Malawi has similar agreements with Tanzania where Malawi has an inland cargo centre at Kurasini in Dar es Salaam to handle and cater for Malawi’s imports.

With the Quelimane Port option, Malawi will cut down transit times from current 3 days for Beira and 7 days for Nacala to a mere 6/7 hours. The cost of inland haulage will go down from around $4000 to $900 per container due to the short distance. That is what can be described as realistic cost reduction and savings. In opting for this, there would be no diplomatic friction with Mozambique as evidenced with the Nsanje Inland waterway attempts. As it stands, Malawi needs look at Quelimane Port.


  • Frank G. Chirwa is National Imports Manager for Mediterranean Shipping Co (Malawi) but writes in his personal capacity.
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106 thoughts on “Quelimane Port much better option for Malawi than unrealistic Nsanje Inland Port”

  1. faiti says:

    retrogressive mind. there are many ports already in other people’s lands which we use. we should have our own port. and we have it!

  2. unknown says:

    Good Article

  3. Gogo says:

    The writer wishes good for hIs country.The idea is practical enough.Tizidzera ku Quiliman baba panseu basi.Zadoko nzochedwa a mphenembe angogonapo

  4. John says:

    Mr Hidden mbuzi ndi iwe

  5. JOHN MBESA says:

    I beg to differ with the writer’s opinion. Why is he trying to promote other countries development rather than his own country? If Nsanje Port can not work, why not look for other alternatives in Malawi? Do not look at goods to and from Malawi only, what if other countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe decide to use this port? As Malawians we need not to look down on ourselves and undermine our country. That is why everybody else does the same. Malawi has great potential to develop itself and developing an inland waterway is the right thing for Malawi to do. If other countries can create rain due to shortage of rain why can’t Malawi create a waterway? We need to encourage government to find means of coming up with such things and not discourage it.

  6. tchutchutchu says:

    The big brain! goodstuff, bt mind u Mozambicans are just rubish!

  7. joinod says:

    I think the 2004 world bank assesment report is just too old to b considered. Things hav changed a lot. today, anthu ambili zedi kuyelekeza ndi 2004 ali ndi magalimoto. that means we need mo fuel than we needed in 2004. a recent assessment may b worthy

  8. Nyakwawa ya Luso says:

    Straight from dissertation report presented at Malawi Institute of Management, in partial fufilment of Masters Degree in Supply Chain Management with the University of Bolton by Frank Chirwa. Nice work fella.

  9. Mandede says:

    Koma amene walemba zimeneziwe ndi dolo. Ndakupatsa ulemu onse. Tikanachuluka a Malawi oganiza chonchi bwenzi zinthu zili bwino kwabasi.

  10. Zanga Phee says:

    Reading some of the comments about Nsanje port one can easily see the ignorance. No ship that sails the shipping routes can come to Nsnaje. The gods will still be offloaded in a Mozambican port like Beira and then be loaded on a barge that can sail to Nsanje port. Assuming it will ever be operational. The goods would have to be taken to and from Beira port.

    It’s the same as loading goods on rail or trucks from Beira. Only that you would be transferring them to a barge. The Zambezi river is not navigable, especially at the mouth. If it was navigable and cheap, would Vale have spent billions of US$ building a railway line through Malawi to Nacala?

    Koma our ignorance paMalawi ndi yoventsa chison.

  11. Mlakho says:

    Quelimane can be the best option. Dont just argue for the sake of urguing.

  12. khembo says:

    palibe chimene akudziwa ameneyu, these are the people who want Malawi to be poor. he is not competent enough.

  13. Mr hidden Name says:

    Stupid writer and stupid thinking. Your school fees was put to waste. Bambo ako akanagula munda akadapindula. Koma iwe!!!!! Undiphilitsa ngozi. Do know how Portuguese treat foreigners? Iwe Mbuzi kwabasi. When nsanje port become operational, I will take my licence, board a bus and in few hours time I will be in my car driving home.

  14. drakes says:

    What is the motive of Chirwa to come up with this article? To me his motive is bad and malicous, and un patriotic, why do northerners always want all developmental projects to be in their Area? Apart from the Port Nsanje has been the cheapest route for Malawi through rail that Malawi is failing to rehabilitate. Quilemane if you check carefully on your map is still direct to Nsanje and from time of the British its not feasible thats why Nacala came to being developed on top of Beira.

  15. GONANI says:

    I think Nsanje is the most viable solution for Malawi haulage system, nothing else. So Mozambique must accept that this is the only way they can help us. Other than that will be a flop.

  16. johnM says:

    I have never been impressed with the so called Shire Zambezi water way. The British were using this waterway in the late 1800s and early 1900s when they were colonising Nyasaland. The question every Malawian should ask himself and herself is why did the British, with their tradition of sailing, abandon this route in favour of a railway to Beira? Even then, it was noted that over the long term, the route is not viable. The Shire and Zambezi levels fluctuates so much that they cannot support shipping in certain periods of the year. There is also the issue of siltation which is even more a problem now than it was in the 1900s when Malawi’s population was not as high as it now. Nacala and Quelimane is currently our best option at the moment and not this Nsanje nonsense.

  17. BigMan says:

    Another Malawian clown, barking, barking, barking against the Nsanje Inland Port. With citizens such as these, how can this country develop?

  18. The Truthful One from the West says:

    I agree with this analysis. Any seasoned transport economist knows that the Nsanje Inland Port is a white elephant that will never be viable. It seems Bingu did not know that the Northern transport corridor never became viable. That is why the crane at Chilumba has been idle for the past 40years. It is not good to politicise these highly technical and economic projects

  19. Kamkhwezule Kakang'ono says:

    Silly nepotistic comments from some of the pipo betray shallow thinking. Mr Chirwa has written an informative article. Some of the propositions are debatable but he does not deserve tribalistic slurs or insults.

  20. myao says:

    Even our national anthem doesnt like NSANJE, kkkkk. 60 mt delivery per week ndi nzeru?

  21. a mvubwa says:

    Why base your argument over a world bank report from 2004. surely number of imports after 11 years is not the same, look at the number of vehicles in the country then and now??? Get facts straight before writing silly articles.. Akulipila aku Mozambique wo eti? Shatapu

  22. Williams says:

    Nonsence if the cost ll be cat frm $4000 to $900 then if nsanje inland port is in operational it ll b more less than tht n th distance is 300km here ll be less as wel to Helo wth ur quelimane r u sent by amozambique to full malawians and its leadership do u thnk we dnt knw what it means when we say port and its advantages in whatever case mawian port its a dhilu to us.

  23. edward says:

    All what is needed héré is research not thé arguments of who comes where , north south it doesn’t mâtter as long as its for thé best of our country.

  24. Boy says:

    I appreciate the time taken by the author to sit down and write this article, however, it baffles me to see how some people akumuyamikira Chirwa yu. In the first place, the author has no conscious to develop his own country, by implying that the Nsanje port is not the best for Malawi, he has already defeated himself. If we had many people like Chirwa during the fight for our independence, we wouldnt had the independence in 1964, later of course, people who are not able to take risks for their own country to develop, thats typical Chirwa style. Secondly, he has forgotten completely to mention that the port will not only be used by Malawi, but by other countries as well including Mozambique itself. Even right now in the absence of the port, Mozambique uses Malawi roads including the new railway line that passes through Mwanza. Ndiye anthu enanu opanda maganizo, mungo yamikira zopanda nzeru ngati izi. As some commentators say, Nsanje port has been there even during the colonial times. What is needed is the upgrading process as was being done and in the pipeline. Kugwira ntchito ku Mediterranean Shipping Co., sikuthandauza kuti chiri chonse anganene ndi chanzeru, ayi!! In short, we dont need the Chirwa type of people for Malawi, but those who are prepared to take the risk and look into the future. Any development in a country, must look into the future, not just today, ndiye ndiizo tikuvutika ndi water shortages in cities and other districts. Projects like Nsanje Port is not only for today, but also for the future developments for Malawi and within the region. Finally, lets have the spirit to develop our country.

  25. Luka Thumba says:

    I am a driver and I have been to all the ports mentioned here Beira,Nacala, Quelimane and Nsanje Boma. Quelimane is the most convenient harbour for Malawi only that Government of Malawi must engage their counterparts in Mozambique to look into these problems first, the port itself is small as compared to Nacala and Beira, second the road for about first 100km from the boarder town of Milanje is forbing

  26. fisher says:

    How much tonnage will a barge using nsanje chinde route carry? Looking at some comments here eeeeish, some people think a niddle can substitute a spear. Mbuli.

  27. mang'anja says:

    ooooooooh!i see mukazatenga boma muzatitha ndithu,mumaoneka ngati anzeru chikhalileni mukulephera kutukula kwanu konyansako mumangoti tiphunzire tikaone town kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk ntundu woseketsa bwanji.

  28. Robert Banda says:

    I like the article. However I think some of the ‘facts’ are not correct. For example, its not correct to say Quelimane is closer to major cities as compared to Nsanje. I used my google map to try to determine the distance and time taken to travel by road from both locations. From Quelimane to Mulanje its about 5 hours. From Mulanje to BT about 1 hr and some minutes. This tatals about 6hrs as you have put it. But then from Nanje to BT is just about 2hrs! and no transit charge here. The Mozambique roads we will have to pay some transit charge, despite being longer as copmared to Nsanje. I still believe Nsanje is a better option!

  29. kes munthali says:

    I was engrossed In the article, but all interest and legitimacy was lost when you pointed out that the main argument for your article is based on figures from a report written in 2004 over 10years ago.
    Cost serving has never been an issue in regards to Nsanje port, the issue has always been navigatability.
    Your article Sir is suffering from what is known as confirmation biase, were you start writing with already preconceived ideas in mind the look for evidence to distort to back your ideas.

  30. Malawian says:

    As long as the port will not be the property of the Malawi government. It is being unpatriotic to consider it as a viable option for this country. Atumbuka you never stop to amaze me, you always oppose an idea which is not coming from your kinsman shame on you.

  31. Ibrahim Jussab says:

    Thumps Up This is a brilliant idea no matter were Frank is comming from it’s in the interest of the whole Malawi let’s be patriotic

  32. Mnunkhaludzu says:

    The option for Malawi to advance the Nsanje Inland Port does not mean that we will completely stop using the Mozambican ports. It is only intended to cut down in terms of the costs incurred during importation since some sizable ships may reach into our territory…. Its not a bad idea at all! Quelimane Port is the most ideal port for Malawi looking at the distance from Blantyre to there. However, we need to look at its capacity to meet the huge volumes of exports and imports. Ships that transport these goods also vary depending on the load…. Not all ships can dock at this port! On the other hand, I don’t think this may be the immediate priority for the Mozambican government. They have made huge investments on Nacala and Beira ports. The upgrading of the railway line to Nacala port is likely to be good move for Malawi….Whatever the case, all these ports will remain vital for Malawi and other landlocked countries like Zambia, Botswana and Zambia and parts of DRC. Our Nsanje port is still an economic push to our development….. Let us isolate politics from all these debates and focus on economic opportunities that can come out of all this!

  33. Ibrahim Jussab says:

    Thumps up Frank wheather North South or Centre this is an Issue we have to at Not just White Elephants

  34. Bwitoto says:

    Bolatu izi osati zoti muzilima chamba zanuzo.

  35. JESPAS says:

    I have a Google Map here. It is true Quelimane is very close to Mulanje and there seams to be a natural horbour, like the Hudson Bay or that stretch of water around Philadelphia in the US. If this worked, we could be going to port in the morning to collect a vehicle and be back in BT by evening. I pray this worked in my lifetime!!!

    Some people are attacking Chirwa because they think he comes from north, He may as well come from anywhere in the country. And this port still serves Malawi from the south and would instantly raise the profile of Mulanje and not Nkhatabay.

  36. Khima says:

    MMalawi muno timangomizanamo…ophunzila osaphunzila onse ali ndi malire ofana achimalawi when it comes to nkhani of this subject. @Frank Chirwa thanks for the article but we need figures to prove your analysis, there can be other viable routes but figures can only tell not kungolemba ngati short story

  37. drakes says:

    This article is being supported by the unpatroitic Malawins. Why should you support quelimame which is far from our entry points. Working for a shiiping company does not mean you know everything about maritime. NSANJE has been a Port ever since the white missionaries arrived here, small steamers were docking there and there is evidence of its maritime capabilities. Malawians lets learn to be one people a development in NSANJE will offer employment to all Malawians and lets support developmental projects, what we are doing by writing useless articles like this one actually shows that Malawi is a fivided Nation, this article was done noy out of research but Regionalism at Play, this article lacks strong basis of arguments attracting people’s attention by mentioning Quelimame as an alternative .

  38. Tiyanjane says:

    First time I am hearing about Quelimane Port. It is interesting reading and I appreciate views from those who are suggesting that further research be undertaken, not necessarily by Mr. Chirwa (whose name is unpallatable to others). Thank you Bwana Chirwa for showing us how to be patriotic.

  39. T/A Mabuka says:

    All i can see are negative comments with no objectivity….Munthu walemba zomveka and it shows he knows his stuff very well. Anzathu a Boma izi ndiye nkhani zoti muzione bwino

  40. Adams says:

    Cheers Frank….Excellent piece of patriotism. Simple, Loud and Clear. Lets simply do further research on this option. No need for hate remarks. Am sure this article has opened the eyes of many including mine. Others simply want to show that they know a thing or two about subject matter but they can do their own articles and we will comment as well

  41. mwahana says:

    Politicians and government officials failed to bring up such an intelligent analysis!!!! or is it that some powers be were so arrogant not to listen to the voice of reason???? I had always concluded that Nsanje port was a white elephant but could only think of Nacala as an alternative. Mr. Chirwa in shipping business has experienced what is actually on the ground and is happening and comes up with a proposal, shouldn’t he really not be applauded!!!!! Intelligent man indeed. Can government take up this proposal without wasting anymore resources on the useless Nsanje port with immediate effect!!!!!!!! Thumbs up Mr. Chirwa!!!!!

  42. mte says:

    The analysis lacks a lot of statistical evidence and therefore can not be relied upon. Secondly, the emphasis on lack of feasibility study shows the writer doesn’t understand that there are certain actions that can be taken while a report on feasibility study is being processed. His analysis of transport costs increase shows that he needed to do a lot of background checks before running with the article. All these put together questions the motive of the writer and what he really aims to achieve at the end of the day.

  43. The probem here z walembayo ndi Chirwa akanalemba Chaponda kapena Fabiano zinali zomveka,koma Azanu akumangaso ma bridge ku Mozambique ko nde muzikadusa mwamba makani opanda nzeru basi.Thumbs up Chirwa.

  44. Ambele says:

    When I saw Nsanje in-land port, I was surprised as to what the Transport ministry officials
    told the late president. Apart from the Mocambican research report on viability or environmental damage , the port itself was being built on assumption of all loads being
    breakbulk in which case de-stuffing would be done in Beira, the cost of these services and the fact the barges would be hired from Mocambique itself made the whole cost saving questionable. The study of Beira port itself would have shown how it has struggled to have
    bigger vessels dock, they had to do drenching at the port. The silt in Zambezi and Shire is
    huge to maintain sailing for all year round.

  45. Bob says:

    Thanks for your senseless article man. revisit your research please.

  46. Emmanuel Mbewe says:

    Lets continue having talks with Mozambique and pray for approval before taking a step ahead.

  47. Amutchona says:

    Number 51 if you know your history you will find out that Lomwes and Yaos all came from Mozambique. In fact the whole Southern region came from Moza and some (especially the Lomwes) not so long ago ( in the 1800s). The over population in the South that is creating voting imbalance is as a result of many people having crossed from Moza. Why should you say the writer of the article is from Mozambique when both Nsanje Project and the alternative project affect Moza? The Nsanje project does not make economic sense even to standard zero. It was commissioned as a way of winning most Lower Shire votes, which DPP did. If this project was viable Kamuzu could have done it long time ago. It does not make economic sense and it WILL NEVER TAKE OFF. PERIOD!!!.

  48. Yonas says:

    The road between Quelimane and Muloza is under construction through EU funding and only a portion of N 11 road between Munhiba and Nibalaga will not benefit from this upgrade, but the route through Mocuba is well and sound. So the trip to Muloza should not be a nightmare again once the Alto Benfica – Milange section is completed. Let us use this corridor please. I rest my case

  49. chosafziwa says:

    Frank, kindly travel to Quelimane before you write such articles. How simple do you think it is to convince the Mozambican government to maintain that road and priotize that port. It’s not their priority currently.
    So when you come up with those answers please rewrite your article.

  50. f says:

    You have failed to analyze the long term situation. Population growth etc. With time it only makes sense that Malawi has her own port.

  51. Kelvin says:

    Weldone Frank,I hope noone from northern Malawi can say something without being told what can you say wakumpoto iwe.Malawi will always be a child if we shall be like this.Frank has just said what he thinks regarding with the facts he gathered.He is a Malawian not only the journalist.Let’s build Malawi regardless of where someone comes.Malawi is for Malawians.If Nsanje port will benifit Malawi let’s go for,if not let scrap the whole thing and focus on something else.

  52. Kandapako says:

    This is the most objective analysis I have ever read about the Nsanje inland port. Those who just emotionally push for the Nsanje inland port, read this article again with a sober and analytical mind and you will see how much sense it makes. Forget that it was a northerner who wrote it. Understand the substance.

  53. zoona says:

    The author is definitely a Mozambican claiming to be malawian. Leave Malawi to malawians croc! We patriotic malawians will always be proud of what’s ours osati kutumbwila chuma cha a neighbour. And we patriotic malawins will develop Malawi!

  54. EdK says:

    Well articulated Frank and evidence based with figures and stats! Well done

  55. puludzu says:

    This is a very good suggestion that needs to be well researched. It is indeed a cheaper and feasible option than Nsanje. I would advise you put this suggestion at a another relevant forum. Say with concerned authorities to consider and take it up with our Mozambique counterparts. Well suggested

  56. SHAMS says:

    Ndi maganizo anzeru enatu mumangodziwa kutsutsa ndi kunyoza koma mulibe maganizo olithandiza boma mzeru, koma cashgate basi

  57. kasim says:

    Anthu enanu you always amaze me . Someone has come up with a realistic proposition to govt but instead of critiquing it sensibly , you start looking at the tribe of the author. Just accept that you fear these guys its a tribe that is progressive you cant compete with them . please use your brain .

  58. Mjomba says:

    Kodi inu a Dalitso, DA, ndi azizanu, kodi zanu zeru zakuya zoti mukalemba anthu ayamikira kuti mwatiuza za zeru mudzalemba liti kuti nafenso tidzayamikile, vuto lanu anthu akumalawi, (ife ndi Nyika Republic koma ndine mchewa) mumadzionanso ngati kuti muli nazo zeru zolongosola zinthu, malizanitu Nsanje port ndi zeru zanuzo munthu walemba kutengera ndi zeru zake nao debate and find the way forward, either to agree or not. ANYAPAPI AMALAWI.

  59. drakes says:

    All along I knew that the tubular are against this port and they have fought hard to derail this. The truth of the matter is what this man has written is no sense and rubbish. Nsanje will be combined with Rail and port. The issue of Quilimane being an optional is out of questions it shows that the writer is ignorant.

  60. Alex Likoswe says:

    Let explore all avenues

  61. Nzeru says:

    People with a perspective like this writer must necessarily be ignored. Low self-esteem, visionless, belief in perpetuation of status quo of things. Very depressing indeed.

  62. Sweet Boy says:

    This man is just nursing a hangover. The Quelimane port he is talking about could be an alternative but not cheap. The Nsanje inland port has to continue because after goods are dropped off in Nsanje they will be transported by rail to Blantyre and Lilongwe. Movement of goods will be bulk, safe and cost effective hence coming up with a substantial savings. Articles like this is very unfortunate because all it is doing is to give the Mozambique authorities reasons to drag their feet further, reasons suggested by an unpatriotic Malawian.

  63. makito says:

    Bravo Chirwa. Never mind the crying gongs, who simply get excited at promises that may never be fulfilled. Bingu dreamed all the way; he even dreamed that he was voted by Africa to be the chair of AU and therefore all presidents, including that of Mozambique were his subjects. And that was a costly dream.

    DPP will never cease to be a joke, the Nsanje inland port is the best example. How can you invest heavily and then later realise that you did not have a feasibility study in the first place? It wasnt an omission, for there is no way it can be in such a project. Just stupid thinking dominates the club, what Bingu said became part of their ” bible”. Look for example, even a malangalanga commerce student would have known that the Kwacha was highly overvalued and needed to be adjusted accordingly, bu late Kahuna chose to use basic arguments against it just to boost his ego and you can imagine that everybody around him eagerly clapped hands at his utter nonsense.

    Now here comes the village polytechnics/community colleges. Show me a needs analysis, a skills profile against demand, market demand analysis… there is none. But listen to DPP gurus, including the Minister of Labour (Henry Mussa) and George Chaponda of FAs: they are the solution to unemployment in Malawi.

    DPP can kill Malawians that love their country with heart attack!!

  64. Nkuruzinza says:

    This is very pertinent food for thought. Vuto ndi lakuti bwana akayankhula, ma kola-boyi tonse timakana kuganiza kapena kuthirapo nzeru zathu kuwopa kunyula. Timangothamanga basi. “Bwana amafuna inland port, ife ndi ayani kuti tidzimuwuza za port yapafupi ya Quelimane?” We need cost-benefit analyses of all these options and pick the best one. Some economists also strongly hold that the moneys for the inland port woulf have achieved greater results if they had gone into extending and improving our railway network. Thank you for taking the time, Frank Chirwa!

  65. james phiri says:

    thumbs up! a wonderful research. i believe as a nation we are going to consider this.

  66. peter says:

    Thanks Frank for the nice analysis and arguments! Its an eye opener to some of us who have little knowledge on these things!

  67. Issa Kabudula says:

    Mr. Frank, I think you are not interested on the move of having the port – coz you are bringing many negativities instead of solution and the reason we know you are an employee of a company which depends in trucking business and mukuopa that you will loss the tenders in transportation.

    Still am praying that the new Mozambican president Yusi to accept our ideas and be favourably enough to allow Malawi have the port – knowing very well that Malawi is the home of many Mozambican nationals and we are relatives, why should Malawi suffer making that Mozambique is our cousin?

    Mr Frank – this work of doko will carry on even after APM – the time I come in as the head of state that will be my priority, not to construct but to open the Nsanje port, the Nayuchi and the Nacala, with or without the support of local Malawi business gurus – coz they are good for nothing. Malawi need business men/women who patriotic, who can see the future of others be developed and who are not greedy of riches.

  68. Che Nkope says:

    Wishful thinking. Malawi needs it’s own port, period.why Quilimane? This is not ours.

  69. chilungamochiwoneke says:

    Abwanawo mongamomwe ananphunzilira akunena zoona, koma awoneka kuti sakonda dzikolawo chifukwa chodana ndimunthu. How can he push his own country in the armpit of another country, for how long should we be relying on others property? this is why foreigners are owning good and big properties in our own country while we the indigenous people owns nothing but hoping to be employed to these same foreigners who have grabbed our own resources. when we are employed as Managers enticed by the salty soup called benefits we feel we have achieved and cling to the same job until we exhaust our energy and even refuse to retire without using the knowledge learnt and start our own, develop ourselves and our nation. Malawians we should have a sense of ownership, not of always relying on others because they have developed earlier than us. Yes relying on others is good but not always and in everything. Whether the capacity of Nsanje port may look small today, the fact is, once operational we will own it, after all Zambia also may use it. All in all, you know your job as an Imports Manger you have better and plausible points to argue, but lets wait for the results of feasibility study, if the results will turnout to be negative, its when we should be looking for other alternative like one you have but not in a manner of completely castigating what you and I don’t know the results yet. Be patriotic, just like buy Malawian, we Malawians it should always be in our minds that “Malawi first”

  70. Masauko says:

    Wonderful piece of research…Malawians learn to appreciate, this is not a tribal issue. The facts raised are relevant and worth having a look. In fact what the gentleman has raised are issues already in the public domain. I am a southerner but fully support the intellect displayed in this article…those who have ears, let them listen

  71. Chibanja tv says:

    The author is more of a politician than a patriot. Nsanje in-land port was to cover Zimbabwe, Zambia including ourselves, geographically, historically the area is ideal for an inland port. The fact that the author is working at a shipping company does not mean that he can not be intellectually be challenged. For the government to reach that far it means it made a lot of reasearch, using plenty of resources at their disposal accompanied with facts. Who did your research?

  72. Randy says:

    what else can someone with such a name writes!!

  73. ujeni says:

    Frank is right, the launch was attended by President Ruphiah Banda, Sata and Bingu did not see eye to eye. Ruphiah Banda took over from Mwanawasa. Get your facts right before you criticise Frank you dundderheads.

  74. ujeni says:

    The usual dundder heads are out in full swing offering nothing just crying foul all the time. Zambia has railway line from Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam they dont need Nsanje port.

    Good analysis Frank

  75. Namatchaitsa says:

    This article should have been titled ” he folly of the Nsanje port” coz there are 8 long paragraphs talking about that and only 3 short ones touting the Quillimane port.

    And it is also very apparent that this writer wanted to talk about Mutharika himself and his fallacies. What is it with us northerners? Leave the man alone, he is dead!

  76. far says:

    The dock was not launched I’m 2013. At this time the president already dead.

  77. hon says:

    Someone is talking economic sense but cadets u crushing every good idea. This guy is talking thru experience bn someone who is an importing manager of the highest shipping line and cardets .bla bla

  78. namatikitiki says:

    Good article though there is still room for further reduction of transportation costs by linking Quilimane to Luc
    henza by rail. The MDF and Ministry of Transport already surveyed this route when ROC wanted to give Malawi patrol boats, a ship and locomotive engines.

  79. dog style says:

    do you think bingu didn’t do his research? nkhani ili apa ndi ya jealousy a moza basi, anazolowela kutikolola. go and eat kondowole wamva

    1. johnM says:

      Bingu did not do research. He was busy downing whisky at four seasons.

  80. Biggie says:

    Much as the author has provided an optional solution to the country’s importation and exportation woes, Nsanje port by the look of things remains viable. Surely Malawi cargo volumes may be small but consider the fact that vehicles are fellied to Malawi everyday, containers from china, etc and then combine that for Zimbabwe, zambia, and of course DRC. Let’s wait for the study to come out. If that fails, Frank you have opened our minds yet to another exciting alternative to look at and I trust authorities would look into your opinion. As for now Nsanje port is in the hearts of Malawians to see it operating as it will drastically reduce costs of commodities. Remember water transport is the cheapest.

  81. Goodwill Funeral says:

    Malawians please learn to welcome and support ideas. This might be a better option for Malawi while we wait for indeed a failed Nsanje Port. In Tete there is a new bridge where no barge can pass. Is Malawi going to break all the beidges in Mozambique. Indeed this deal will not happen.

  82. Chakwera: "Mulakhoism" says:

    This is constructive criticism. You have opposed the idea of Nsanje inland port and you have also given an alternative (Quelimane Port). Please Chakwera borrow a leaf from this guy. This is what we call constructive opposition. Thumbs up Chirwa. You are the greatest patriot.

  83. Richard Banda says:

    Many thanks Franks for your educated views which are very enlightening. As citizens we have a duty to advise government and I hope government takes note and lends a listening ear to this.

  84. tidikire says:

    Tiyeni tidikire feasibility study @Frank. Being an import expert you are deliberately downplaying the gains of own port even if it gets minimal volumes at the start. I however commend you for coming up with alternatives unlike many critics who simply have said no to the port.

  85. paulos banda says:

    Inu Kamuzu knew all these facts kungoti problem is our current leaders. Amufuna kulemerera pa mtuu pathu. That port project was started to reward Mota Engil for constructing Ndata Casab and Mpumulo wa Mbava nothing else.

  86. Kodi atumbuka munakhala bwanji? bwanji mumangoganiza mofupika, osaganiza mokuya bwanji? ukuganiza kuti nsanje idzibweretsa katundu wa malawi yekha? that is why kwanu sikukutukuka inu.

  87. Frank Zobaiwe says:

    There are many lies in your article. How I wish you could do enough research before publishing. Chindere chafikapo

  88. Ambere chile says:

    Brilliant argument raised here Mr Chirwa. This is the sort of advice our arrogant politicians need. Now coming to you primitive tribalistic idiots, munakhala bwanji kodi agalu inu? Frank Chirwa has writen this article based on facts which support his argument. He is a well respectable expert in international shipping and has access to information that our arrogant politicians hide from us. It doesn’t matter where he comes from because Fran is Malawian first, a proud one for that matter. He is actually more patriotic than most of you idiots mumakhala pa Nyasa times kumalemba zopusa. Ana a njoka inu. Wakumva wamva.

  89. Kadakwiza says:

    Because Mr. Frank Chirwa is from northern region I don’t think lomwes will support him. But true speaking, the guy is brilliant. He qualify to be our Minister for transport. He talk sense.

  90. Marvin guy says:

    Its gives a sense! Mozambique wont allow nsanje port to be.sick bingu evested our tax in vain damnnn

  91. Raw stuffer says:

    Nsanje Inland Port was launched in October 2010. Please check your records. This is however a very good article



  93. Wax says:

    Whether the president was Sata or Banda, and regardless of what year Bingu died, the main fact here remains that this ‘Nsanje Port’ Project is a fluke in total. Some of you people are just blank in your heads. You just add trash to this forum without substance. Be constructive men. This Malawi is not for any individual at all, its for all Malawians and Malawians need well baked projects in the plate. Facts remains that Quelimane Port is the most ideal ever. We have always wondered why it never got mentioned in any of the pages of the various proposals by the government. Believe me, Politicians will always tell you one thing and they basically mean another thing. Honestly, where on earth do people start with construction and followed by feasibility study??? Kikikikikiii, and you trash the writer of this article just basing on nepotistic grounds??? If you are not straight up there then you certainly have a problem down there. Do you know what plans are being pursued by the Zambian Government now??? Zambia is now only supporting viable projects, real ones, not these white elephants, which Malawi will always keep spending from its already half empty pocket as am very much pessimistic over this whole thing like every sensible person with facts on the ground. I challenge whoever wants to counter this article above to bring his own facts to prove to Malawians that you know what you are talking about on such projects. Otherwise stay away from this. Eishh, I can Salanje you if you don’t know. I have a bank of facts unreleased, just dare.

  94. kanchacha says:

    Come on Malawians! We should learn to be positive some times. Quelimane port is really a great idea and if there can be a tarmac road to Malawi. But how will Mozambique share the cost of building this road. Will the cost be shared with both nations, if yes then that can be a good option. The best projection can be that Malawi needs to build a road from Marka to Morrombala with a bridge built passing Shire river. From Morrombala to Corico is a dusty road and lastly Corico to Querimane there is already tarmac road. Malawians stop this regional tribalism we are all malawian. Can we do projects which can really help our nation both for our future generations. We can also build oil pipe line from Querimane to Marka or Nsanje. We can have refinery plants to refine cruide oil in so doing employing more people and improving the availablity of fuel at a cheaper rate. This oil pipe line can take advantage of short distance. If Zimbabwe has a oil pipe line from Beila to Mutare and Zambia has also a pipe line from Daarsaalam to Ndola. Please malawi leaders do something to our nation. Take ngongore zoti zithandiza dziko for a long time.

  95. mbewe says:

    Sure. These are detractors pf development. By the way do you know these hs beem in exstence for alonger tym? Bingu was pnly reviving arleady exsting route. Write issues basing on developmental facts. Malawian scholars who believe writting negatively on Malawi defines them to well school. This really qeastion whether we are treully benefiting with our education system where believes writing negatively about youself you get better resilts. Work up Malawi where irrigation engineer woll comemt pn pplitical arena of the cointry.

  96. Khuth'upa o''Machemba says:

    Frank Chirwa’s observations are elucidating, but there are, apparently, factual errors in this piece. Regardless, tili ndi mabvuto zedi kuno ku Malawi ( we have a big problem involving intellectual capacity). If Chirwa is a shipping manager, for a viable company, then he must know that his conclusion(s) are not justifiable based on what he has told us. Who is he kidding?
    Investors of Nsanje Port needed cost/benefit analyses! Where are such analyses for his Quelimane-Mloza route? We all have opinions, but please we should not push them as credible evidence. And we should not masquerade as experts, just because we work in a related field. Leave these to experts, who can get studies done. Then governments and investors can make up their minds.
    Maybe the Quilimane-Mloza route is more viable, but where is the study?

  97. karoda says:


  98. Buharimeter says:

    Well done ada Chirwa. That’s a very insightful article. But as you know mabwampini a DPP are full of unnecessary pride, they will continue chasing the wind at Nsanje Crocodile landing port till all the Mutharikas are dead.

  99. Tithatonse says:

    Nsanje slab has been the biggest joke that a primitive country can waste its money on. The only plausible reason for constructing this slab was to launder money for Ndata Palace and embezzle K62 billion by Bingu.

    The construction of this stupid project was started without feasibility and EIA or involvement of Mozambique and yet 90% of the waterway is in Mozambique. Only in prehistoric times can a person think of starting a US$6 billion project without feasibility study or consultation with Mozambique. For Nsanje to ever be viable it requires dredging right up to the mouth of Zambezi river. Assuming the bridge across Zambezi is high enough to allow container carrying vessels to pass under it during rainy season when water levels are high.

    No sane person can come up with a positive feasibility study looking at the investment, overall costs and carge volumes. It is a sad and embarrasing monument of Bingu’s shambolic presidency. Desperate poor Malawians were hoodwinked.

  100. Dalitso Chimjeka says:

    Thumbs up to Frank that’s being Patriotic.

  101. rose says:

    There goes another northerner full of knowledge but full of low self esteem.Iweyo sukudziwa kuti goods to go through Nsanje will be for Zambia as well?Go to sleep.Kuzidelera nkana simuukweza kwanu ku north.Keep quite.

    1. Baba wa boy says:

      Don’t, forget Zimbabwe,even the Mwanza part of Mozambique could be serviced from Nsanje. We Malawian do not look at ideas and their merits or demerits, but the person behind the idea.

    2. dumakude says:

      i hope rose you are out of topic, frank expresses what he feels is good for the nation not necessarily the way you put at regional thinking someone is coming from. here is the of comparing the possible ways of getting goods at reasonable costs. he has ably compared distances, number of harbours, time lapse for goods to reach the destination and issues of diplomaticunderstanding with country involved. commenting should be in line for the developing the nation.

  102. DA says:

    Also, in 2013, the Zambian President was the late Michael Sata- not Rupiah Banda

  103. DA says:

    Bingu wa Mutharika died on the 5th April 2012. I think you need to check your facts

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