Mozambique is to build a new deep water port at Matutuine,
in Maputo province, at a cost of $2.34 billion. This replaces an
earlier proposed location at Ponta Dobela, which has been
rejected because of technical difficulties. Because it is a
natural harbour, Matutuine will not require dredging.
The new facility will provide much-needed relief for the
existing port of Maputo and also provide Botswana with an
outlet for its mineral exports. The two countries have already
signed a memorandum of understanding covering the
development of the port. Producers in Botswana could
potentially extract around 40mt (million tonnes) of coal
annually, of which the existing port of Maputo could have
handled just 25mt. However, output will be transported to
Matutuine by a new 1,100km railway, which will pass through
Zimbabwe. At present, Botswana has to use ports in South
Africa, with transit times of anything up to 22 days. Once the
railway commences operations, transit times will fall to six
days using the new port.
Finance for the port is expected to be in place by 2011;
initial construction work is set to begin in 2012–2015.