New rail line boon for Zim-Mozambique trade
Darlington Musarurwa in MANICA, Mozambique
ZIMBABWE, as a land-linked country, continues to benefit from use of Mozambican ports, railways and road infrastructure for the movement of both imports and exports, and, in that regard, the commissioning of the newly rehabilitated US$200 million Beira-Machipanda railway line will reduce transportation costs of cargo between the two countries and the region, President Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking at the commissioning of the railway line in Manica, Mozambique, yesterday, the President, who was guest of honour at the event, said not only will the rehabilitated 318-kilometre railway line reduce transport costs but will also ease congestion at Forbes Border Post in Mutare, which is presently handling between 300 to 500 trucks per day.
Host President Filipe Nyusi invited President Mnangagwa to the event when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the recent inaugural Saudi Arabia-Africa Summit in Riyadh.
The President and his Mozambican counterpart on a train from Manica to Machipanda in Mozambique yesterday. — Picture: Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo.
“To my dear brother President Nyusi, I say to you . . . I congratulate you and the people and Government of Mozambique for successfully rehabilitating and upgrading the Beira- Machipanda railway line, which today I have also witnessed. For many years, it had remained dilapidated, but because of my dear brother’s vision, today we are witnessing the modernisation and operationalisation of this railway line. Congratulations, my brother!” said President Mnangagwa.
“Zimbabwe is a landlocked or land-linked country and continues to benefit from the use of Mozambican ports, railways and road infrastructure for the movement of both imports and exports. We thus welcome this important development, as the use of trains and locomotives along the Beira-Machipanda railway line will reduce the transportation costs of goods between our two countries and the world beyond.”
He said the new railway line — which stretches from Beira to Forbes Border Post and was built using local skills — would be integral to regional trade.
It is envisaged that the newly refurbished infrastructure would significantly boost trade between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“I am happy that my dear brother President Nyusi has the vision to build this country on the basis of materials and manpower of the people of Mozambique; not borrowed skills, but domestic skills.
“This development, which we are witnessing today, is going to increase trade between Zimbabwe and Mozambique from 600 000 metric tonnes to 3,5 million metric tonnes,” said the President.
“We are seeing the philosophy of integration by the SADC region so that together when we build this infrastructure in our respective countries, we are actually increasing trade amongst ourselves, modernising our infrastructure, growing our economies, not in isolation but in partnership. I say to my dear brother, keep on this vision; it is not for the benefit of Mozambicans, but for the benefit of our region — SADC.”
Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa said, had been able to withstand the effects of sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union because of support from countries such as Mozambique.
“We in Zimbabwe are 23 years under imperial sanctions imposed by our former colonial masters because we reclaimed our land, but because our brothers and sisters in Mozambique have stood by us, Zimbabwe is progressing, Zimbabwe is growing, Zimbabwe is modernising, (and) Zimbabwe is on the march,” he said.
The President introduces his delegation to his Mozambican counterpart President Nyusi after the official commissioning of the Beira-Machipanda railway line in Mozambique yesterday. – Pictures: Believe Nyakudjara.
“We have been seeing kilometres and kilometres of trucks on the Mozambican side; kilometres and kilometres of lined up trucks on the Zimbabwe side. With the inauguration of the railway line, all that cargo will now move to Beira, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and DRC by rail. And it becomes cheaper . . . This line was dead for more than 26 years.”
The President challenged Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona to work on a similar railway line on Zimbabwe’s side of the border, even if it meant the country had to outsource skills from its neighbouring country.
As part of the multi-pronged strategy to ease the movement of goods between the two countries, Zimbabwe has already roped in a contractor — Leengate Private Limited — to build the Christmas Pass bypass road, which circumvents the route through Mutare’s Central Business District.
A dry port is also being considered.
“I came here with several ministers from Zimbabwe, and I was telling them as we were moving on the train that none of them must sleep until they invite me to travel on a similar train in Zimbabwe. No sleeping!” said President Mnangagwa, who had the opportunity to share the train ride from Manica to the border with his host.
“And I said if we do not have skills, if we do not have machinery, the people of Mozambique have demonstrated that they have the skills and that they have the machinery. We can get that skill into Zimbabwe, and we can get that machinery into Zimbabwe. I want the job done yesterday.”
Cooperation between regional countries, he added, could help them develop through leveraging on their abundant resources, skilled manpower and vision.
President Mnangagwa also said Harare and Maputo must “march together and assist each other because we are one family”.
President Mnangagwa and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi congratulate each other after the official commissioning of the 300km Machipanda railway line in Manica, Mozambique, yesterday.
“I want to conclude by appealing to us all: We want peace, we want harmony, we want unity, we want love during the day and night. We must love each other,” he said.
President Nyusi said Zimbabwe and Mozambique shared a deep bond and the newly rehabilitated infrastructure would, therefore, boost trade between the two countries and the region.
“From the onset, we would like to thank you, Mr President, for having accepted our invitation so that together we celebrate the completion of the rehabilitation of the strategic railway line,” said President Nyusi.
“Your presence emphasises the vital effect of the Beira-Machipanda railway system for the two countries and global trade, and expresses the relevance and commitment of your Government to cooperate with Mozambique, particularly in terms of making the Beira corridor viable.”