Mozambique deals blow to Malawi’s Shire-Zambezi waterway

Malawians are anxiously waiting for the results of feasibity study that is to determine whether Shire river is navigable or not with Mozambique saying giving faint hopes of adopting the report.

Malawis Transport MinisterFrancis Kasaila CMozambiques Transport Minister Carlos Mesquitta L and the Deputy Minister of Zambia Mutaba Mwali R present at the meeting - Pic by Stanley Makuti

Malawis Transport MinisterFrancis Kasaila CMozambiques Transport Minister Carlos Mesquitta L and the Deputy Minister of Zambia Mutaba Mwali R present at the meeting – Pic by Stanley Makuti

Nsanje Port officially opened in 2010, but has yet to become operational.-Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN

Nsanje Port officially opened in 2010, but has yet to become operational.-Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN

Transport ministers from Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi are currently meeting in Lilongwe to discuss a report on the navigability of Shire in a closed door meeting.

The report has been compiled by a German consultant but no official was available to reveal contents of the report before their meeting.

If the consultants say the river is navigable, it would be huge relief to landlocked Malawi as this will drastically cut down on transport costs and would automatically boost the ailing economy.

But Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister, Carlos Mesquita told reporters in Lilongwe that they are unlikely to adopt the report.

“Chances are very limited that Mozambique will adopt the report,” Mesquita said.

“We are already committing resources to other ports such as Beira ,” he added.

“Mozambique would need to spend 100 million Dollars to drench the river and deepen the waters. This is not economically viable,” he said.

The route was used by Malawi and Mozambique in the 1970s. Mawtam Limited operated a barge service transporting molasses from Chilomo in Malawi to Chinde on the coast of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Because of the civil war in Mozambique, this route was stopped.

According to the Government of Malawi, Glens Limited organised a survey by boat of the Lower Shire and Zambezi Rivers. The survey found the rivers still navigable all the way to the Indian Ocean port of Chinde .

Malawi Transport Minister Francis Kasaila however remains optimistic that the report will be adopted, hoping to pursued all stakeholders.

“Most likely the report will be adopted in November,” Kasaila said.

Kasaila said in Mangochi that the project remains a priority under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government.

Former president Bingu wa Mutharika earmarked Nsanje as the World Inland Port and steadily developed the area for the intended port but now the ace lies isolated, dejected, rejected and absolutely abandoned.

The aim was to reduce the high costs of importing and exporting goods by road via Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre and the Mozambican port city of Beria – a round trip of about 1,200 kilometres.

Just before his death, Bingu wa Mutharika had an official opening ceremony of the port but the ceremony was snubbed by his Mozambican counterpart, arguing it was illegal to open a port before feasibility study results according to international laws.

As Bingu wa Mutharika presided over the official opening of the port in October 2010, flanked by former Zambian president Rupiah Banda and Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, he had to admit to the crowd gathered to witness the arrival of the first barge that the Mozambican government had called for environmental and feasibility studies before it would allow any barges to navigate the Zambezi River portion of the waterway, which flows through its territory.

The Shire-Zambezi Water Way will be financed by governments who will participate in the project, the donor community and some companies in the private sector.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to fund the feasibility study that formed part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Shire-Zambezi Waterway project signed by Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in April 2007.

Kasaila said President Peter Mutharika already made an initiative to engage private investors from the United States.

“We will engage some private companies and it is at this point when the government will float out to the public some opportunities that are available on the project,” he said.

He said an assessment on the private companies will be done to see which ones can engage on the project.

Some of the works that need to be done at the port include construction of warehouses, handling facilities and bringing in of barges.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
vavlov
Guest

This project is not viable. Go to Nsanje and see for yourself the level of siltation, which would make the port idea impossible to implement. It is simple; land degradation upland is severe, and would make dredging of silt impossibly high. How stupid can Malawi be to even imagine this project is possible?

Nyapapi
Guest

DPD IS MASANJE AND NOT SERIOUS.MALAWI HAS TO FIND THE USD 100 MILLION TO DEEPEN THE ZAMBEZI.ASAKUPUSISENI A DPP AKUZIWA KUTI NDIZOSATHEKA IZI.

Wachamba
Guest

Moshko ti ithire nkhondo basi.

His Excellency the Life President Wolemekezeka Mkango Lion Chivomorezi Chisokonezo Manthakanjenjemereza
Guest
His Excellency the Life President Wolemekezeka Mkango Lion Chivomorezi Chisokonezo Manthakanjenjemereza

Leave Mozambique alone . Let us consentrate on our development. Foolish. We have golide, mafuta, siliva, diamond ndi zina zotere. Tikumbe asiyeni a Mazambiki agalu amenewa.

yuona
Guest

First things first. We must improve on our relationship with Moshkor.

Viyazi Tembo
Guest
Dear Nyasa times, My name is above stated, kindly pass this message to relevant government authority mainly concerning Mozambique and Nsanje inland port. Personally I have had enough of excuses from Mozambique government for not granting us yes to use Zambezi river through their territory. Its now or never for them to allow us using Zambezi if they are willing to continue accessing their on transit railway line through our soil. Apo bii, I will use my home made bomb to destroy this railway line since it is passing right through in my back yard in Mwanza district. No joke,… Read more »
Thyolo Snakes
Guest

Nzeru zayekha anamanga dziwe la N’gona. Bingu kuba kwambiri, amaona ngati a ku Mozambique ndi mbuzi kuti azingolora ndizopusa zomwe.

Mfumu ya alomwe
Guest

During campaign period our President said once elected into office he will jump into a helicopter to re open the Nsanje port. That is some form of executive arrogance. You don’t stand on the podium and start bragging about things which involve foreign territories. Lero
ndi Zimenezi.

Jabulosi
Guest
Something very wrong with Malawian thinking!!!! I already stated that Nsanje port is a “White Elephant.” All along Mozambique has shown no interest in this Waterway yet Malawians kahunas have been tooting the project to the extent of implementing some works without Mozambique’s blessing yet in whose territory the waterway passes and ends. Isn’t this being stupid and foolish????? Now the Mozambican minister honestly/frankly and loudly tells Malawians that to them this Waterway is not feasible but we still want to argue, “What will you achieve at the end?” NOTHING!!! SO WHY ARGUE?? JUST ABANDON THE PROJECT!!! PERIOD! Cost-benefit analysis… Read more »
Therere
Guest

Let us all fast for this project to pass,, if accepted by our neighbours Mozambique things will change here in Malawi

wpDiscuz

More From Nyasatimes