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Construction to start on Macuse

Plans for Mozambique’s third coal port have been approved. It will be built at Macuse, in Zambezia Province and near the mouth of the River Zambezi, between the two existing coal ports of Beira and Nacala.

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The project will require the development of a coal terminal on a greenfield site plus a new railway, but the new port will be closer to the Moatize coal fields in Tete Province than either Beira or Nacala.

The exact route of the railway is yet to be determined but it will be between 480 km and 500 km.

The railway, which has been named the Zambezi Integrated Development Corridor (Codiza), will be built by Portuguese engineering and construction company Mota-Engil and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). Codiza president Abdul Carino said that the firm had won the contract following a competitive international tender that attracted six bids, with the others submitted by GS of South Korea, Turkish firm Yapi, Andrade Gutierrez of Brazil, China Railway Construction Corporation and China Harbour Engineering Company. Mota-Engil and CCECC secured the deal with a bid of US$2.3B, and construction work on the railway is scheduled to take three years to reach completion.

The port itself will be developed and operated by the Thai Mozambique Logistics (TML) consortium of Italian Thai Development (60%), Mozambique’s state-owned port and rail utility Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM - 20%) and Zambeze Integrated Development Corridor (Codiza - 20%).

José Pires da Fonseca, CEO of TML, said that the port would have initial handling capacity of 30 Mtpa when it opens in 2021, increasing in three further phases, as and when required, to an eventual 100 Mtpa, making it far bigger than either of the coal terminals at Beira or Nacala. Speaking in Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province, Da Fonseca said that power producers in Thailand India and China, plus steel plants in India, China and Japan are likely to be the main customers for coal shipped out of the port, but he did not name them specifically.

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