Maputo — The transport of coal from the Moatize coal basin in the central Mozambican province of Tete to the port of Beira, along the Sena rail line, has earned the Mozambique port and railways company, CFM, over 53 million US dollars so fare this year, according to a report on Radio Mozambique.
The sum results from handling about three million tonnes of coal, compared with 1.5 million tonnes in the same period of 2012.
Candido Jone, the managing director of the central division of CFM, said the coal was produced by the Brazilian company Vale and the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto.
Two other companies are producing smaller amounts of coal, but so far they are sending them to Beira by road. They are the Indian company Jindal, and Minas de Moatize, a subsidiary of the British-based Beacon Hill Resources.
Jone, who was speaking last week during a visit by Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse to the Beira port and rail complex said that, up until last Tuesday, the exports had involved 82 ships carrying the coal to markets in Asia, America and Europe.
Muthisse said there remain major logistical challenges in scaling up coal exports. He pointed to work under way to increase the handling capacity of the Sena line from 6.5 to 20 million tonnes by February 2015, and to expand the facilities at Beira so that the port can deal with exports of 26 million tonnes of coal a year.
Beira alone cannot deal with the vast amounts of coal that the mining companies say they will be exporting in the near future. Other ports will therefore come into play.
Vale is financing a new railway from Moatize through southern Malawi that will link up with the existing line to the northern port of Nacala. A new mineral port is to be built at Macuze, in Zambezia, which implies building another new railway, this time exclusively within Mozambique.
Muthisse said that the amount of coal to be transported by the country's railways and ports could rise to 100 million tonnes a year.
He added that Beira port should not neglect its traditional clients. On the contrary, it should make every effort to increase the handling of cargo to and from countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.