China Railway proposes Zimbabwe–Mozambique rail link

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China Railways is proposing the construction of a $2.5 billion rail link connecting Mozambique to Zimbabwe through Zambia, which will give these last two countries easy access to Mozambican ports, APA can report.

Company vice president Shao Gang was quoted by state-controlled Radio Mozambique on Tuesday as saying the first phase of the project will consist of a 400-km link between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, from where a 900-km-long line will reach the port of Nacala.

“We have been working closely with Global Power Bridge International to establish the foundations of the $2.5 billion rail project, and we are ready to start it,” Shao said, adding that the project also involves China’s New Century Energy International, which has a $500 million large-scale soybean production project in Zimbabwe.

The construction of new sections of this line and the reconstruction of others began in 2012 and include a 200-kilometer route through a neighbouring country, Malawi.

The China Railways project also involves the construction of a 1,700-kilometer line directly linking Zimbabwe with Zambia, to the port of Nacala.

Foreign mining companies are betting in Mozambique on one of the world’s largest untapped reserves of premium hard coking coal relatively close to Africa’s east coast, a prime location for feeding hungry markets in Asia.

But they have run into a problem facing many minerals exporters across Africa.

Tens of millions of dollars have poured into the only rail link between Mozambique’s remote coal fields and the port of Beira, its export gateway.

However, despite the upgrades, cyclic heavy rains flooded parts of the line paralysing exports.

Mozambique’s government insists that any infrastructure development projects also serve other uses such as non-coal cargo, shipments from neighbouring states and passengers.