NACALA-A-VELHA, MOZAMBIQUE, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has officially inaugurated the Nacala Integrated Logistic Corridor (CLN), the new railway and port built to carry coal exports from the Moatize coal basin in Tete province to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala.

The project consists of a 912-kilometre railway line from Moatize to the Bay of Nacala, with 200 km running inside Malawi, and a coal terminal at the brand new port of Nacala-a-Velha, on the opposite side of the bay from the existing Nacala port.

The investment in the corridor amounts to about 4.4 billion US dollars. The shareholders in CLN are Brazilian mining giant Vale, which owns the open cast coal mine at Moatize, the Japanese multinational Mitsui, and Mozambique’s publicly owned port and rail company, CFM.

Speaking at Friday’s inauguration ceremony here, Nyusi said Nacala-a-Velha had the largest and most modern coal terminal in the country and he was sure it would have a huge direct impact on various sectors of economic activity and on the well-being of Mozambicans.

He explained that he had a personal motive for satisfaction, for he is, by profession, a railway engineer, and he spent 15 years of his life working at the northern division of CFM, which covers the Nacala commercial port, and the railway from Nacala to Malawi (part of which is now within the CLN).

He stressed the importance of the new terminal, pointing out that Nacala-a-Velha can receive the largest ships and thus avoid the high costs of trans-shipment. Nacala Bay provides natural deep water harbours, and the access channel does not require dredging. This means that much larger vessels can enter Nacala-a-Velha than in the alternative port for coal shipments, Beira.

The natural conditions of Nacala make it the best deep water port on the east African coast.

Although the official inauguration was on Friday, the port has in fact been handling coal exports since January last year. A source in Vale told journalists that to date the largest single shipment of coal from Nacala-a-Velha was a ship carrying 187,000 tonnes.