Machipanda Railway Expansion Highlights Mozambique Gateway Role

The first freight train between Mozambique and Zambia in 25 years is underway, with the Machipanda railway having been extended. The recommencement of rail links between the two states offers Zambia another rail freight option, as it has been solely reliant on its rail link with Tanzania. This is a positive development for Zambia's supply chain, particularly for its exporting of copper. BMI also highlights that the extension of the Machipanda railway into Zambia further bolsters the development of Mozambique's maritime gateway credentials, with the country's port of Beria and its railway network the key beneficiaries.

The first train to travel between Mozambique and Zambia offers a link between the port of Beria and Lusaka, the Zambian capital. The train is carrying 1,050 tonnes of inorganic fertiliser from the port to Lusaka and on the return journey will transport copper, which will then be exported out of the port of Beria. The train is the first to link Mozambique and Zambia in 25 years and is an extension of the Machipanda railroad which recommenced services between Mozambique and Zimbabwe in October 2012.

The Machipanda railroad offers Zambia a new rail freight option. The country is reliant on its neighbour Tanzania and its port of Dar es Salaam for rail freight links to a seaport. BMI believes that the diversification of Zambia's rail freight options and its chance to now link into the port of Beria for its import and exports will have a positive impact on Zambia's copper exports.

New Export Routes For Zambian Copper
Zambia Copper Mine Production, '000 tonnes

Zambia's copper production is steadily increasing. BMI's Mining team forecasts the country's copper output to expand by 4.1% in 2013 to reach 813,650tonnes. Over the medium term (2013-2017) we forecast a growth of 25.2%, with the country's copper production projected to reach 974,640 tonnes in 2018.

The extension of the Machipanda railroad into Zambia further bolsters Mozambique's development as a maritime gateway, a role which will benefit its ports and rail freight sectors. The port of Beria is Mozambique's major dry bulk facility catering for the country's coal exports and in the last 12 months Zimbabwe granite exports. The addition of Zambian copper exports to the mix will further boost throughput at the port, which between 2009-2011 recorded a growth in total tonnage throughput of 88.3% to reach 5.7mn tonnes in 2011 (last available data).

The utilisation of rail to link Mozambique with landlocked states in the region will also offer upside risk to Mozambique's rail freight volumes. Between 2005-2011 rail freight volumes in Mozambique increased by 55.5% to reach 1.2bn ton-km in 2011 (last available data).

This article is tagged to:
Sector: Mining, Freight Transport, Shipping
Geography: Mozambique, Zambia

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