Zim-Moza gears up for extensive trade

26 Jan, 2024 - 00:01 0 Views
Zim-Moza gears up for extensive trade Zimbabwe's and Mozambique's Transport Ministers, Honourable Felix Mhona (third from left) and Honourable Mateus Magala (second from left), today conducted a tour of the Forbes Border Post following the commencemennt of 24-hour operations on Monday this week to improve efficiency and seamless movement of goods

The ManicaPost

 

Cletus Mushanawani
News Editor

THE governments of Zimbabwe and Mozambique have moved in to establish a railway line as an alternative mode of transporting cargo between the two countries and boosting trade.

The 10km railway line will stretch from Machipanda (Mozambique) to Mutare.

The 317km Beira-Machipanda railway line is already in place and was recently rehabilitated to allow for more traffic between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In the same vein, a new bridge will be constructed across Munene River on the no-man’s land between Zimbabwe and Mozambique to reduce congestion at the busy Forbes and Machipanda Border Ports.

Transport ministers from the two countries confirmed the development during a tour of Forbes and Machipanda Border Posts last week on Friday.

Speaking to the media, Mozambican Transport and Communications Minister, Mr Mateus Magala called for the establishment of efficient and modern infrastructure to facilitate trade and integration between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“No development will take place if we continue working in silos. We need to work together. We need to upgrade our thinking and actions so that we achieve more great things.

“We need to have efficient, modern and progressive infrastructure that facilitates trade and integration for our two countries. We want to operate borderless countries.

“I am very happy that we managed to agree on what we need to do and also prioritise the urgency of these projects. ln the next three months, we want to see the railway line between Machipanda and Mutare operational at the highest standards.

“We want to see a train running from Beira to Harare and beyond in the shortest possible time. If we work the way we are doing now, I bet this will happen in the next two to three years.

“For that to happen, we need to collaborate with many institutions, the private sector and development agents. That discussion is now mature to the point that we are going to engage some financial institutions to help us do feasibility studies to determine when we can do the infrastructure.

“We are looking at between US$70 and US$100 million to complete the railway project to Harare. This can be done in the shortest possible time,” said Minister Magala.

He said the modernisation of the border and transport systems will see the Zimbabwe and Mozambique competing favourably with other countries in facilitating trade.

“Having modernised the infrastructure here and integrated the systems, I think we will be in a better position to compete with other countries in the world as we move to the digital economy,” he said.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Honourable Felix Mhona said they hosted their Mozambican counterparts as a follow-up to the meeting they had with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Mozambican counterpart, President Felipe Nyusi, who directed them to move with speed on the projects.

“We are here working, implementing what we were directed to do. The railway line refurbishment is very topical as our roads are being damaged each and every day. We need to move the cargo from the roads to the railway,” said Minister Mhona.

“I am happy to note that Mozambique has done tremendously well in rehabilitating their railway from Beira to Machipanda, and the missing link has been the 10km into Mutare. Mozambique will be working with us to take the railway line to Mutare.

“We have given ourselves a timeline of three months. This will be achieved. This move will assist us in decongesting our border, there were cases where you could witness a 30km stretch of trucks.

“We collaborated on addressing this issue, in fact, through a phone call we agreed to implement the 24-hour system at Forbes and Machipanda Border Posts. We are getting pleasing statistics on the increase of business following the opening of the borders 24/7,” said Minister Mhona.

He said the developments at Forbes Border Post are in line with the Second Republic’s move to promote the ease of doing business.

“This is in tandem with the Second Republic’s efforts to promote the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

“We have also seen that we have a bottleneck on the narrow Munene Bridge and we have agreed that in the short term, we need to construct a parallel bridge so that we enhance trafficability of trucks as we look into the bigger picture of a one-stop border post.

“I am happy that we are not just talking, but we are implementing, and you shall see great results as we have started working together,” he said.

Turning to the Christmas Pass by-pass road, Minister Mhona said: “We are now at an advanced stage in terms of rolling out the Christmas Pass by-pass road project. We are finalising the funding modalities which we will be announced in the next two weeks.

“The contractor is ready to start the project which is close to 30km. As we decongest, we need to find alternative routes and we believe the Christmas Pass by-pass road will alleviate the challenges that we are witnessing there.

“We are also looking at the dualisation of the Mutare-Harare Highway. We have already started and right now we are at Melfort. We are resuming very soon and the project will reach Marondera as we gravitate towards Forbes Border Post,” said Minister Mhona.

Government is also looking at the development of the Cashel Valley Border Post in Chimanimani as an alternative route for trucks to use to reduce congestion at Forbes Border Post.

“While we are looking at alternative routes, our first priority is Forbes Border Post. We have companies like Forbes Border Consortium and Dinson that are working hard to see how we can expand the border post.

“They are working with our technical team to implement the project. We now want to consolidate with our Mozambican counterparts so that we roll out the project together.

“The refurbishing and construction of Munene Bridge will run concurrently with the border’s refurbishment. The pre-feasibility study has been done and we are now on the implementation matrix,” said Minister Mhona.

 

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