Harare - The Mozambican port of Beira and the transport corridor are now fully operating, after the recent two-week blockade movement as a result of the damages caused by Cyclone Idai, Business development officer of Cornelder de Mozambique, Mudiwa Mufanochiya, said this week.
Beira port was affected during the Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on March 14, leaving a trail of destruction and claiming over 1 000 lives in all the three countries.
As stated by the Economic Commission for Africa, the loss encountered by Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi due to the tropical Cyclone Idai is more than $1 billion and effects of the deadly storm will take years to fully repair, especially in the port city of Beira where almost 90% of the infrastructure was damaged.
However, Cornelder de Mozambique said it did not take long as expected, to make renovations and resuming the day to day running of Beira port because the port sustained only limited damages as preparations were made in advance to protect all the machinery and cargo.
“Beira port is back on track, the port was of course affected by the storm since it devastated the whole the central region of Mozambique.
“Fortunately, the port sustained only limited damages as preparations were made in advance to protect all equipment, machinery and cargo.
“On the general cargo terminal, the warehouses suffered severe roof damages and repairs are in the process. On the quay side, the fenders on the quays were swept away but have now been replaced and quays are fully functional.
“On the container terminal, no full containers were damaged as they were stacked low or in pyramid shape. The gantry cranes withstood the storm, well thanks to extensive tie down efforts before the storm.
“The container terminals and information systems that were switched off and relocated to safe areas as a preventative measure are back online and now fully functional,” Mufanochiya said.
The Beira corridor is one of Southern Africa’s main transport routes that links Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC and Mozambique to the port of Beira on the Indian Ocean. Mufanochiya said the corridor is now functioning although things are yet to reach the best standard.
“The road to Beira was not accessible due to the flooding. Around 100 km away from Beira, bridges and roads were also damaged. However, due to extensive emergency road works they were reopened, and Beira is now again connected to the hinterland countries by both road and rail.
“In spite of the humanitarian work that is still unfolding, the Beira corridor is working normally again and has resumed its role of connecting Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC and Mozambique to the outside world,” Mufanochiya added.
Pfungwa Kunaka, director of budgets in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Finance, said the temporary shutdown of the Beira corridor significantly affected trade flow within the southern parts of Africa, and the move to urgently fix the port was necessary and useful.
“Our country has been facing challenges after the port was affected, as it disturbed trade flow along Beira corridor, therefore this development was key,” Kunaka said.
Total Zimbabwe spokesperson, Chris Kasima, also welcomed the development, pointing out that fuel supply into Zimbabwe was affected by the temporary closure of the Beira port functions.
“Since the jetty in Beira was damaged and couldn’t receive vessels to discharge, it has been affecting the chain of fuel flow within the region, so this development comes as a relief,” Kasima said.
Beira corridor is considered one of the key transport routes in the SADC region, as it is a road and rail network that links large parts of Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and DRC to the Indian Ocean.
The corridor also plays a strategic and instrumental role for regional development and integration as it makes an enormous contribution to the movement of people and goods within the Southern Africa.