Maputo - 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 has unused capacity of 2 million tonnes a year.
Zucula said it has a current capacity for 8 million tonnes or cargo a year,
but was only moving 6 million tonnes.
At the annual Maputo Port Conference, held on Thursday,
Prime Minister Aires Ali expressed concern at the use of roads rather than
railways, particularly for transporting minerals.
He pointed out that heavy
trucks reduce the useful life of roads, incur large fuel costs, and cause 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.