Maputo — Work is now under way to rehabilitate the Sena rail line in central Mozambique, so as to ensure a direct rail connection between Malawi and the Mozambican port of Beira.
The Sena line runs from Beira to the Moatize coal basin in Tete province. There is a spur which goes from Mutarara to Vila Nova da Fronteira, near the Malawian border, and then on to Bangula in Malawi.
This spur has been out of operation for many years. A source in Mozambique's publicly owned ports and rail company, CFM, cited in Thursday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", said 46 million dollars is available to conclude the rehabilitation work under way on the Mozambican side of the border.
He said that clearing the bush from the route has already been done, "and within the next fortnight, we shall advance with the rehabilitation proper, with the introduction of heavy machinery including Caterpillars and Bulldozers".
The spur is 115 kilometres long - 44 kilometres on the Mozambican side and 71 kilometres inside Malawi. When the work is complete, Malawi hopes to export sugar to Europe, via the port of Beira.
Beira may be the most convenient port for companies in southern Malawi - but for northern and central Malawi, the main route to the sea will certainly remain the railway across northern Mozambique to the deep water port of Nacala.