AFRICA: The governments of Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have agreed to develop a 1 500 km mixed-traffic rail corridor to serve an expanded port at Techobanine, 70 km south of Maputo.
Starting at Francistown in northern Botswana, the route would cross northwards into Zimbabwe, serving Bulawayo, before running southeast into Mozambique. It would make extensive use of existing lines, which would be upgraded to handle higher payloads of heavy commodities. The port of Techobanine is to be expanded significantly to reduce the pressure on Maputo, and a new line would be built to serve it. As well as carrying coal and other heavy freight, passenger services are expected to be provided across all three countries under the terms of the MoU.
Each government has agreed to contribute US$200m towards the cost of the project, but Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Water & Energy Kitso Mokaila stated at the signing ceremony that the private sector would be expected to take the lead, initially funding a detailed feasibility study.
While the existing railways in the region can currently handle up to around 2 million tonnes of freight per annum, the tri-national corridor is envisaged to carry up to 12 million tonnes.