The European Centre for Development Policy Management has said that the Nacala Corridor is very affordable compared to other transportation means but remains underutilised.
In a study titled A Political Economy Analysis of the Nacala and Beira corridors, the centre has said that though Nacala Port in the eastern part of Mozambique is the closest to Blantyre (about 700km) and Lilongwe (about 1 180km) and the most cost-effective on paper, it is not the favoured route for Malawian imports and exports.
The report follows a large investment into the corridor, as the African Development Bank (AfDB) committed $36.7 million (about K27 billion) towards the Multinational Nacala Road Corridor Development Project phase five which was launched last year in November. Around this time last year, Central East African Railways (Cear) has posted a 52% decline in profit to $2.1 million (about K1.6 billion) in the first quarter of 2019. According to Cear Finance Manager Christina Chithila, the profit declined from $4.4 million (about K3.3 billion), a losss that he has attributed to unmet targets for cargo.
On the other hand, players in the transport sector have bemoaned thefts happening in rail transport, which may be a reason why the corridor is ignored, opting for the road/air/marine transport as safer means.