Mozambique Projects

In December 1992 the government announced the proposed restructuring of the administration of the Beira, Maputo and Nacala transport corridors, with a view to encouraging private-sector involvement in investment and management.

In June 1997 the government invited contractors to tender for private concessions to operate Maputo port and the three railways linking it with South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The state ports and railway company, Empresa Nacional dos Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Mozambique (CFM), were to retain a 33% stake in the companies. The operators were to have a 51 % stake, while the remaining 16% was to be open to other investors.

It was envisaged that the new operators would take over in 1998. However, negotiations with foreign companies had failed to produce agreement on management contracts for the port or any of the three railway lines by mid-1999. Similar divestments involving the Beira and Nacala transport corridors were initiated in 1998.

In May 1999 a consortium headed by CFM was given approval to purchase the privatized Malawi Railways. CFM is partnered by the Nacala Corridor Development Company, which consists of US, French and Mozambican private companies. Payment, of some US $20m., was to be made over a period of 20 years.The assets of the rail company will belong to the consortium, although the task of upgrading the infrastructure will remain the duty of the Malawian government, with World Bank funding.

Traffic in the 'Nacala Corridor' increased by 8.7% in 1998, with traffic to Malawi increasing by 11% and internal traffic increasing by 5%. This railway-dominated country lacks good roads. In 1996 there were only an estimated 30,400 km of roads and tracks. Unfortunately, the main roads are penetration lines toward the border and are grossly insufficient for Mozambique's purposes. Attempts are being made to construct a paved road from the Tanzanian border to the south.

Most of the northern provinces are lacking in roads. There is a bridge across the Zambezi river at Tete, on the Zimbabwe-Malawi route, which was completed in 1972, and a tarred road links Malawi to Maputo via Tete. Prior to the end of hostilities in 1992 the poor security situation all but halted normal road transport to and from most cities, and it was necessary to organize military guards for convoys.

Between 1977-82 about 550 km of paved roads were built, as well as 450 km of tracks and 50 bridges, and a major programme, Supervised by the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC, now the Southern African Development Community-SADC), was under way in 1989 to improve the road links between Mozambique and neighbouring countries. UN agencies are helping to fund a programme to rehabilitate roads within the country. In April 1994 the IDA announced a credit of US $188m towards an $814.6m programme to rehabilitate the country's roads.

The five-year programme, covering 3,450 km of main roads, 11, 700 km of unasphalted roads, and 3,200 Bailey bridges, was also to receive finance from the African Development Bank, EU, USA, France, Germany and Kuwait. The main ports are Maputo (the second largest port in Africa, with its annexe at Matola), Beira, Nacala and Quelimane. Maputo and Beira ports exist chiefly as outlets for South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, because of the security situation, most of their potential traffic has been re-routed to the South African ports of Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth.

The total freight traffic handled by Mozambique's ports was only 4.2m tons in 1986, but increased to 9m tons in 1988. In 1994 some 6.2m tons of cargo were handled, increasing to an estimated 8.2m tons in 1997. Maputo has an excellent, multi-purpose harbour and rehabilitation of its facilities, which aimed to increase the port's annual handling capacity from 7m tons to 12m tons, was completed in 1989.

The coal terminal at Maputo port, which has a handling capacity of 6m tons per year, has been rented for a period of 15 years to the South African company CMR Engineers and Project Managers. The sugar terminal reopened in June 1995 following four years of inactivity. In mid-1999 the government was pursuing plans for the privatization of the management of Maputo port). CFM and Mozal plan to spend US $70m on the expansion Matola mineral plan situated outside Maputo.

The first phase of the rehabilitation of Beira port, which included a joint terminal for petroleum and 'roll on, roll off traffic and an increase in the capacity of the coal terminal, was completed in 1987 , increasing its overall capacity by one-third, to 3.2m tons per year. The second phase of the rehabilitation, which included the deepening of the entrance channel, was expected to raise capacity to 5m tons per year on completion. Goods traffic handled at Beira in 1991 totalled 2.4m tons, compared .1.8m tons in 1987. Repairs to the port of Nacala, damaged, a cyclone in early 1994, were to cost an estimated $14m. Foreign assistance was being sought to fund the repairs.

In May 1996 the governments of Mozambique and South Africa convened an investors' conference in Maputo in an attempt to secure funding for the development of transport links between Maputo and Johannesburg. The project included the rehabilitation of the Maputo-Ressano Garcia railway line, the construction of a toll road between Maputo and Witbank, in South Africa, and improvements to Maputo harbour. Construction of the 440-km toll road, which was scheduled to take three years at a cost of US $400m, began in June 1998. In March 1999 it was announced that construction of the road was a year ahead of schedule.

International air transport is operated by the state-owned LAM, and domestic routes by TI'A. There are 16 airports, which three are international. In August 1990 LAM agreed to buy one Boeing 767 and one 737 and to lease a further 767 and two 737 aircraft. All three of the leased aircraft were returned in early 1995. Despite opposition from within the ruling party, sustained pressure from the World Bank led the government to agree to transfer LAM and TI'A to private-sector ownership.

The latter was privatized in May 1997. Efforts to privatize LAM suffered a setback when the restricted tender, apparently won by a consortium led by the Portuguese airline TAP, was cancelled
following renewed opposition from within the ruling party. In 1996 LAM incurred operating losses of US $1.1m, an improvement over the previous year's losses of $6.7m.

In 1998 LAM recorded a profit of $248,000; the strongest growth was in regional traffic. A project to provide equipment to seven airstrips, which was supported by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), was carried out in 1983-85; Danida agreed in March 1988 to expand the project and provide maintenance services for the original work. A $4.7m rehabilitation programme was planned for Maputo airport.

The project included the rebuilding of the terminal to increase handling capacity to 1m passengers a year. During 1983-1993 most provincial capitals were accessible from Maputo only by air. However, the restoration of civil order and the rehabilitation of the road network have considerably lessened dependence on internal air transport.

Last Updated on Wednesday 9th December 2009