Nacala port

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Mozambique and coal
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Nacala port is the deepest port in Southern Africa and the site of northern Mozambique's newest and largest coal export terminal, which began commercial operation in 2015. The port is connected by rail to the Moatize coalfield in Mozambique's coal-rich Tete province.


The port is located in northern Mozambique's Nampula province.

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Nacala port was identified as a desirable location for a new terminal to export coal produced at the Moatize coalfield in Mozambique's coal rich province of Tete. A news report in 2009 cited Mozambique’s Transport Minister Paulo Zucula stating that the government had secured $500 million from the Dutch government and the European Union to to build a new railway line from Moatize to the deep-water Nacala port by 2015.[1]

The decision to build a new coal export port and railway line came in response to inadequacies in the export infrastructure at Beira, which at the time was northern Mozambique's only operating coal terminal. Coal from Vale's Moatize mine, which was commissioned in mid-2011, and Rio Tinto's Benga coal mine could only be transported to the port at Beira via the 660km long Sena railway, which has limited capacity, is built to a poor standard and vulnerable to flooding. Beira port itself is subject to silting, requiring constant dredging.[2]

In July 2011 it was announced that Brazilian based Vale had begun studies on building a coal terminal at Nacala. The project's cost was estimated at about US$1.5 billion.[3]

In 2012, Vale said that it was planning to spend US$4.4 billion to build the terminal and the 912km railway line to connect the port with its Moatize mine.[4] Currently the port and the railway are both managed by CLN (Corredor Logístico Integrado do Norte), an 80%/20% partnership between Vale and the Mozambican state port and rail authority Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM).[5]

In December 2014, the Vale group sold a stake of almost 15 percent in the Moatize mine and 35 percent of the railway and the port of Nacala to Japanese group Mitsui & Co.[6]

As of January 2015, the port of Nacala was nearing completion and the new railway line between Nacala and the Moatize coalfield was fully in place. CLN, operator of the port and railway projects, received shipment of the first locomotives for use on the new line in mid-2014,[5] and load testing on the railway began in November 2014.[7]

When fully operational, the railway will transport coal from Moatize to Nacala in trains with an average length of 1,500 meters, composed of at least 120 coal cars pulled by four locomotives. Plans call for the railway to offer universal access to all coal producers in Tete province. CLN projects a transport capacity of over 11 million metric tons per year by the end of 2015, 13 million tons by the end of 2016, and 18 million tons by the end of 2017.[7][8]

In June 2015 Vale Mozambique said it will begin exporting coal through the port in the third quarter of the year.[6]

Project Details

  • Operator: Corredor Logístico Integrado do Norte (Vale and Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique), Mitsui & Co.
  • Location: Nampula province, Mozambique
  • Annual Coal Capacity (Million tonnes): 11 (2015), 13 (2016), 18 (2017)
  • Status: Construction completed in 2015, expansion ongoing through 2017
  • Type: Exports
  • Source of coal: Moatize coalfield, Tete province, Mozambique
  • Funding: Japan International Cooperation Agency

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