MALAWI Railways is to resume work on its 27 km cross-border extension from Mchinji to Chipata in southeastern Zambia. Started in the 1980s, the line is intended to provide a rail corridor from eastern Zambia to the port of Nacala in Mozambique, which is shorter than the lines to Dar es Salaam or Durban. Road traffic from Zambia to Nacala and Beira has been growing rapidly since 1992.
The Sena rail corridor from Malawi to Beira has been out of service since it was wrecked by Renamo guerillas. However, Mozambique Railways' Chairman Rui Fonseca announced at the end of May that a US$300m restoration programme should be put together by the end of September as part of a regeneration package for the region. The Sena line serves coal mines in Moatize and sugar plantations at Marromeu, and Fonseca hopes that firms interested in developing the coalfield will invest in the railway. The three-year renovation will require 900000 sleepers and 900000 m3 of ballast.