Mozambique’s Sena railway line is expected to carry five-million tons of coal a year, starting operations from July next year, as well as one-million tons of general cargo, such as cotton, granite and tobacco.
Companhia Dos Caminhos De Ferro Da Beira (CCFB) CEO Arvind Khare tells Engineering News Online that the Sena Line was completely destroyed in 1983, during the Mozambican civil war.
However, the line is now being rehabilitated through a $230-million (R1,73-billion) investment to carry especially coal from the budding Moatize coal field to the port of Beira for export.
Khare says the Mozambican government had invited tenders for concessionaires to take over the country’s central railway system, which consists of the Machipanda and Sena lines.
The CCFB consortium, which includes Rites and Ircon, won the tender in a competitive bidding process in 2004.
“The Moachipanda line was taken over in December, 2004, and the Sena line in March, 2005,” says Khare.
Ircon is an Indian government company, operating originally under the name Indian Railway Construction Company.
Rites is a government of India enterprise, and provides engineering, consultancy and project management services in the transport infrastructure sector.
Khare says the Machipanda line handles all the Zimbabwean import and export rail cargo moving through Beira.
Exports consist mainly of granite, containers, and wattle extract. Imports are mainly wheat, fertiliser, maize, rice, and containers.
“The volume through the Machipanda line depends on the Zimbabwe economy,” notes Khare.
To date, track work on the Sena line has been completed up to Moatize. However, for commercial purposes, it has been opened only up to Muatrara and Marromeu from Beira.
“The entire line is expected to be operational during October,” says Khare.
To handle the expected five-million tons of coal a year, CCFB aims to procure 30 locomotives, and 600 wagons, he adds.
“Coal-mining facilities and facilities for handling coal in Beira are still not ready and are expected to be ready only by the end of June, 2011.”
The Beira port cannot currently process coal.
Cornelder de Moçambique is the terminal operator of the Beira port.
Cornelder is a Dutch-based shipping company.
Khare says the potential exists for the Sena line and Beira port to handle 20-million tons of coal a year, but points out that this depends on coal production levels.