South African mining operators prefer to send their mineral exports to the port of Maputo by road because of the prohibitive fees charged by the South African authorities for use of the rail system, Mozambique's AIM news agency reported.
"What is happening is that the mining companies in South Africa pay high fees to use the railway to Ressano Garcia, which is intended to persuade them to use the port of Durban rather than Maputo," Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula told reporters on Friday.
"Rather than pay that price, they prefer to come to Maputo by road, which is much cheaper".
The railway between Ressano Garcia, on the South African border, and Maputo port had unused capacity of two million tonnes a year. Zucula said it had a current capacity for eight million tons or cargo a year, but was only moving six million tons.
At the annual Maputo Port Conference, held on Thursday, Prime Minister Aires Ali had expressed concern at the use of roads rather than railways, particularly for transporting minerals. He pointed out that heavy trucks reduced the useful life of roads, incurred large fuel costs, and caused environmental problems.
Zucula said discussions had been held with South African state rail company Transnet in an attempt to standardise transport prices, so Maputo port would no longer be disadvantaged, AIM reported.
via I-Net Bridge