The ongoing acute fuel shortages in Malawi have led to the grounding of operations for passenger train services at the country’s sole railway operator Central East African Railways (CEAR).
Central East African Railways Company Director of Marketing Wilfred Ali said lack of fuel is costing the company high revenue in freight services.
“We can’t get the commodity and this is why we have not been able to operate our passenger train for the past three weeks or so,” Ali said on Zodiak radio.
As in other economies across the world, trains remain the cheapest mode of transport in Malawi.
The development hitting the rail sector means people from Makhanga, Balaka, Nayuchi and other places who rely on the train for their transport services in the Southern region, will have to cough more money for other alternative transportation modes.
CEAR said the ongoing fuel shortages are biting hard into the company’s operations.
“Obviously it’s a big blow. Being a transport company fuel is key in our operations and the crisis has a huge bearing on our finances,” he said.
Meanwhile, government has embarked on a campaign dubbed “operation kusaka” aimed clamping down on those possessing and selling fuel illegally whom it is partially blaming for the growing problem of scarcity of fuel in Malawi.
However, the scarcity of fuel in Malawi is largely owed to the fact that forex is also scarce in Malawi disabling the smooth purchase of the commodity in general.