The African Development Bank (AfDB) has tipped Malawi to explore alternative modes of transport if the country is to reduce transport costs in 2018.
Currently, road transport is the dominant mode of transport in the country.
A Country Strategy Paper 2013-2017 for Malawi released by AfDB indicates that inadequate infrastructure is one of the binding constraints to growth and private sector development.
It further notes that unit costs inside Malawi are at least twice as high as in South Africa, as a result of long distances to ports and low backloads.
Ironically, the advice comes at a time the AfDB has financed the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road, Mang och i -Li wondwe Road and a feasibility study for the Ntcheu- Tsangano-Mwanza Road.
Senior Water and Sanitation Engineer at AfDB, Benson Nkhoma, emphasised that transport costs are high in Malawi because of overreliance on the roads when the maximum c a r g o one articulated truck could haul a t one g o is 30 tonnes.
“One of the reasons why transportation costs are very high in Malawi is that the country over relies on one mode of transport, which is road. As development partners, we have been working with the government to come up with a transport master plan.
“We are pleased that our colleagues, the World Bank, supported the master plan initiative and that plan has proposed to have a multi model approach encompassing air, water and rail. This will reduce transportation costs,” Nkhoma said.
Former president Bingu wa Mutharika had planned to revamp water transport by launching the Shire Zambezi Waterway.
Mutharika believed the waterway would help to reduce the country’s import and export costs by 60 percent, thereby making Malawi’s exports competitive on the international market.
However, despite Malawi launching the Nsanje Inland Port, the Shire Zambezi Waterway is yet to become functional as Mozambique insists on the completion of a feasibility study of the project first.
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