Africa-Press – Mozambique. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has challenged the public-owned port and rail company, CFM, to strengthen the quality and efficiency of urban public transport.
The president was speaking on Thursday, in Maputo, during the inauguration of a set of 34 carriages, 150 freight wagons, two railcars and an Independent Telecommunication System, an investment worth 95 million US dollars
.“This equipment aims at increasing the capacity to transport people and cargo and meet the demand for passenger transport in the Maputo metropolitan area”, said Nyusi.
Besides the economic advantages for the country, Nyusi said that the investment will ease congestion on the roads and allow greater fluidity of road transport during peak hours
.”The two railcars will carry passengers, exploiting the comparative advantages of rail transport, namely, the great capacity, speed, comfort, and complying with previously defined schedules and routes. Quantity is not enough, but regularity is fundamental”, said Nyusi.
The independent telecommunications system, he said, is a fundamental tool for the management of rail safety operations, allowing the visualization and location of the trains in real time and permanent communication with their crews.
“The wagons will boost the transport of minerals in the southern rail system and strengthen the capacity of rail freight transport”, he added.
According to Nyusi, the strategy to improve operations systems complements the recent understandings reached with the South African and Eswatini authorities for the elimination of the mandatory stop for all cross-border trains at the frontier posts of Ressano Garcia and Goba.
“With the new operational model, huge economic advantages are expected, especially a reduction in transit time, allowing CFM to fully respond to customer needs on the Ressano Garcia and Goba lines.”, the president said. He challenged CFM to replicate this experience on more rail lines, where physical borders continue to be mandatory stops, which places burdens on rail operations.
“This is how we will improve the levels of competitiveness of our economy and strengthen our position at the level of the region and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) by creating value for those who use our logistics corridors”, he stressed.
Nyusi promised that his government will continue to subsidise rail passenger transport. Each train formed from the new carriages and railcars should be able to carry 12,000 passengers. Shifting more passengers onto the railways would alleviate Maputo’s transport crisis, “but it does not solve the problem definitively”, Nyusi added.
“We are aware that urban public transport is an eminently social activity, and so it can always count on government intervention to protect low income users”, pledged Nyusi. The price of rail tickets only covers ten per cent of the costs. The other 90 per cent is borne by the government, via CFM.
Nyusi challenged Transport Minister Mateus Magala to “think big”, and propose “daring solutions” for the railways
Magala replied that he has every intention of “revolutionizing” the sector. “My ambition is to create a robust and integrated multimodel transport system”, he said. That meant setting up “modern companies with efficient management to attain the goal of guaranteeing good quality transport”.
For his part, the Chairman of CFM’s Board of Directors, Miguel Matabel, explained that the inaugurated equipment results from the fulfilment of government guidelines that assign the company the responsibility to guarantee the transport of people, logistics and cargo handling.
“We stress our commitment to guarantee the fulfilment of the mission entrusted to us and to meet the expectations and guidelines of the government,” he said.