Nacala Logistics has reiterated the need for the country to invest in developing complementary transport infrastructure of roads and railways if the sector is to contribute significantly towards national development.
Nacala Logistics Commercial Manager Kennedy Kwerani said this in an interview last week.
He outlined key benefits of incorporating the railway system among key investment areas, saying this would help reduce the cost of transporting larger volumes of cargo through longer distances.
Among other things, he said doing this would allow trains to haul much more cargo and in larger quantities.
“If we are going to develop as an economy, we need to use rail over long hauls and allow trucks to concentrate on short hauls and there is so much opportunity for the short hauls because [they] will deliver in areas like Zomba, Chiradzulu, within town-areas where rail cannot go, so that we can save our economy the cost,” Kwerani said.
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency sector position paper released in June 2021, Malawi remains one of the countries in Africa with limited transport system and as a result faces high transport costs.
“Average cost in the region of $7 (close to K6,000) per tonne per kilogramme rendering economic and social development difficult. However, there is an attempt to invest in aviation; rejuvenation of the rail subsector is also a target of the Government of Malawi (GoM) as well as continued expansion of the roads subsector,” the report reads.
It further said the government allocates K30 billion (approximately $41 million) to the transport sector annually which goes to the road sector and, in order for the National Transport Master Plan (NTMP) to be implemented successfully over the next 20 years, the GoM needs to be contributing K100 billion (approximately $137 million).
Last month, Vice President of Malawi Saulos Chilima touted the importance of moving more into the rail sector as he believes this is in accordance with the Malawi 2063 agenda.