ON FEBRUARY 10 representatives of Mozambique’s national railway & port administration CFM and a consortium led by Pittsburgh-based Railroad Development Corp initialled the formal concession contract covering operation of the country’s Nacala Railway for the next 15 years. Subject to final approval by the government, the consortium expects to take over operations in April.

The concession includes both the natural deep-water port at Nacala and CFM’s Northern division. This runs 914route-km of 1067mm gauge railway linking Nacala to the Malawi border, with branches to Lumbo and Lichinga.

The consortium will pay an annual fee rising from US$2m in the first year to US$5m in years 5 to 11.

RDC’s partners include Portuguese port operator Tertir, South African freight forwarder Manica, and Bermuda-based Edlow Resources; the four hold 67% of the business, with the rest shared between Mozambican investors. The same partners also own the Central East African Railway, which took over the neighbouring 797 km network in Malawi on December 1 (RG 1.00 p7).

The line will be combined with CEAR to create an integrated transport corridor from Nacala to northern Mozambique, Malawi and eastern Zambia. CEAR’s CEO Robert Mortensen, and General Manager Bradley Knapp, will take responsibility for all rail operations. n