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Putting Mozambique’s transport system on the right track

Efforts are being made to optimise Mozambique’s road and rail infrastructure. But will it be enough?

Ships carry cargo in Nacala port
Nacala port in Mozambique.

Good afternoon. The Mozambican government appears to be thinking seriously about the country’s transport and infrastructure issues. Last month we covered the plan to build a second railway track between Maputo and Ressano Garcia to relieve congestion on the N4 highway. Today, we bring you two pieces of news: Malawi has received permission to build a dry port at Nacala to capitalise on the freight railway linking Nacala and Lilongwe; and the government has proposed a scheme to stagger working hours in the public and private sector to reduce traffic in Maputo at peak times.

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On the face of it, both policies are eminently reasonable. Nacala is much nearer to Malawi’s borders than Dar es Salam, which handles much of the country’s external trade. As one of East Africa’s deepest ports, Nacala has no restrictions on ship size, and with the pre-existing railway built in part for Vale to export coal, Nacala is well placed to be Malawi’s first choice of port. Meanwhile, enforcing new business opening times could be a creative solution to the capital’s seemingly intractable gridlock.

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