REHABILITATION of the 90 km line from Maputo to the South African border at Ressano Garcia is to be completed by the end of this year, according to Mozambique’s Minister of Transport & Communications Antonio Munguambe.

Addressing a conference to promote the ’Maputo Corridor’ at the beginning of May, Munguambe said CFM was undertaking the work following the termination of the concession awarded to Spoornet and NLPI (RG12.05 p760). He expected ’emergency repairs’ to be completed in May, with final works on the Ressano Garcia - Machava section finished by October.

Around US$12m is being spent to boost capacity on the route from 3 million tonnes a year to 5 million in 2007, with a target of 17 million by 2010. CFM is spending US$70m in total, which includes US$31m for rehabilitation of 45 locomotives, US$20m for freight wagons and the rest for infrastructure works in Maputo Port and on branches to Matola, Goba and Salamanga.

Munguambe expects to see a substantial increase in traffic over the route, as Maputo is much closer to the Gauteng region than any South African port. CFM studies suggest that the line could be carrying almost 6 million tonnes of South African coal, 4·6 million tonnes of magnetite and 1·2 million tonnes of ferro-chrome in 2010. n