He said the master plan would provide a framework for delivering sustainable interventions towards improving the transport sector across Malawi for a period of 20 years from 2017 to 2037.
“The plan defines infrastructure proposals across multi-modal transport network which covers road, rail way, inland water, civil aviation, rural and urban transport,” Mhango said.
He said the plan would require about $9.15 billion from the World Bank over a period of 20 years and has identified a number of interventions.
“There are also plans to extend the railway network into Malawi from ports other than Nacala [in Mozambique] in order to offer choice and increased competition,” Mhango said.
Through the plan, the government would also introduce mass transportation to reduce congestion by constructing an express way between Limbe and Blantyre above Chipembere Highway and increase bypass roads in cities around central business areas.
“It is our expectation that, at the end of the 20- year period, generations to come will reflect on this massive transformation in the transport sector,” Mhango said
Malawi develops transport master plan
Malawi—with support from the World Bank— has developed a national transport master plan (MNTSP) which seeks to reduce transport costs and improve safety across all modes of transport.
The blue print, to be unveiled in Lilongwe on Thursday, comes at a time the country’s transport system, which is dominated by road transport, is considered too expensive, thereby constraining the development of business.
Minister of Transport, Jappie Mhango, said the transport master plan would help reduce the cost of transport in the country.
Mhango said the master plan will see a shift from overreliance on road transport to water and rail.
“The inter transport model plan that we want to embark on would help shorten the distance for our imported goods and also reduce transport cost.
“Most of our imports such as fuel and fertiliser rely on road transport which requires use of big vehicles [trucks]. Looking at the load, in some cases, it requires 100 trucks to haul fuel from Beira into Malawi but the same consignment if transported via water, it means the cost will be reduced by half,” he said.
Mhango said water or rail transport would help reduce transport costs, resulting in reduced consumer prices.
“Once fuel prices go down, it means the benefits will trickle down to the common man. This, in the end, will grow our economy as Malawians will now afford to have disposable income,” he said.
He further said Capital Hill is also spending a lot of resources in road rehabilitation due to excess usage of the road by heavy trucks.
“By using water transport, the government will save on maintenance works as water does not require much repairs,” Mhango said.
A statement from the Ministry of Transport said the plan is likely to provide a clear framework for delivering sustainable interventions to enhance the transport sector across the country for the period between 2017 and 2030.
The statement added that the master plan further sets out infrastructure proposals across all transport sub-sectors such as road, rail, inland water, civil aviation and urban transport.
President Peter Mutharika is expected to launch the master plan.