Whether the multi Million dollar Nsanje inland port project becomes merely a place for tourist attraction or be used for its intended transportation purpose lays in the outcome of the ongoing detailed feasibility study to be out early next year.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works Rexie Lyson Chiluzi says once the study is complete and favorable, Malawi and the SADC region should expect the reopening of the Shire Zambezi Waterway.
Chiluzi said this on Wednesday when he toured the port area to assess its status and find the way forward as to what government should do to prevent further siltation and damage at the port.
According to Chiluzi the study, being conducted by Hydroplan GmbH from Germany, started in November 2013 and is expected to be complete by May 2015. It focuses on the technical, economic, and environmental viability as well as detailed planning and investment appraisal. Currently it is in its advanced stage.
Chiluzi believes once complete, the opening of Shire Zambezi water way will contribute to the provision of efficient transport system with affordable costs and reliable modes for countries sharing Zambezi river basin namely Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean.
While major plans for the inland port waits the feasibility study, Chiluzi says plans to rehabilitate the port will commerce as soon as funds for the job are identified.
“Having seen the current state of the port, the Ministry will produce a report with recommendations to Mota Engil to possibly dredge the silt and water hyacinth and replace covers which were vandalized subject to availability of resources.”
When asked what will become of Nsanje if the results of the Feasibility study prove unfavorable, the Principal Secretary said other options will be explored.
“We do not expect the study to fail but in the unlikely event that the project does not materialize, Government will explore other ways of using the facility.
“For example it can be used as a place of tourist attraction. As the port stands now it is a government asset and cannot be abandoned, ways will be explored to make economic use of the facility,” Chiluzi concluded.