Mozambique and Eswatini have agreed to remove the rail border for goods on the Goba rail line connecting the two countries.
Representatives of the companies Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) and Eswatini Railways signed an agreement in Maputo on Friday formalising the circulation of direct trains between the Port of Maputo and Sidvokodvo.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by members of the governments of both countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Mozambican Minister of Transport and Communications Mateus Magala said that the agreement would, by removing the mandatory stop at the Goba border post, create the necessary conditions for the unimpeded movement of rolling stock between the two countries, thereby contributing to the realisation of the African free trade zone.
“As an immediate impact of the signed agreement, the Goba railway line will double the number of daily coal trains, from the current two to four. The volume of coal transported will also increase in the same proportion, rising from the current 3,600 tonnes to 7,200 tonnes per day,” he noted.
Minister Magala also explained that measures to increase the capacity of the Goba railway line, which last year transported around 190,000 tonnes of cargo from Eswatini to the Port of Maputo, would culminate in the handling of around 788,000 tonnes by the end of the year, quadrupling the volume of cargo handled in 2021.
“The impacts of removing rail borders with South Africa at Ressano Garcia, and with Eswatini at Goba, are positive and are not limited to these operations alone, as there are positive benefits for all other members of the rail transport logistics chain in the Maputo Corridor,” the minister stressed.
According to Minister Magala, the Port of Maputo, which last year registered an all-time record of more than 22 million tonnes of cargo handled, is now in a position to continue to grow as a result of the increase in the volumes it will receive from feeder railways.
“The national economy has an opportunity to continue to grow in a sustainable and balanced way, through taxes and various fees, employment opportunities and the multiplication of businesses that result from transport infrastructure,” he said.
In turn, the Minister of Public Works and Transport of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, said that conditions had been created for a significant increase in the speed of operations, with improved efficiencies in the rail transport of sugar, coal, and other goods expected to use the Goba rail line.