Malawi has started importing fuel by rail through the port of Nacala in Mozambique as a result of diplomatic talks between Malawian president Lazarus Chakwera and Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi.
This past weekend, Malawi received the first 500,000 litres of fuel by the new route, a measure aimed at reducing the cost of handling the product.
The resumption of rail transport of fuel comes after President Chakwera paid a visit to Mozambique, where, among other things, he discussed mechanisms to strengthen trade.
Initially, the process is being managed by a private company, but it is expected that the state oil import company will carry out its own imports by next September.
The government of Malawi, a landlocked country, foresees 20% of fuel being imported via this railway line. Currently, volumes stand at 15%.
Once the project is fully operational, Malawi is set to import 1.2 million litres of fuel a day by rail, or an average of 24 million litres per month, deputy chief executive officer of the National Oil Company of Malawi, Helen Buluma, said.
Malawi already has a stock of 23 million litres of fuel in Nacala awaiting transport by rail.
Malawi’s National Energy Policy stipulates that, by 2022, 30% of Malawi’s fuel must be imported by road through the Dar es Salaam Corridor in Tanzania, 50% through Beira in Mozambique and 20% by rail through the Nacala Corridor.
High transport costs for fuel and various other products led President Chakwera to press for the reactivation of the railway lines that link Malawi to Nacala and Beira in Mozambique, more accessible routes for importing products.