KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
THE decision to lift the ban on exports of maize has boosted Zambia’s trade to the Great Lakes Region with volumes increasing to over 15,000 tonnes in August 2017 from the average of 11,000 tonnes when the ban was in place.
This came to light when Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba met with Mpulungu Harbour management team in Kasama yesterday (Wednesday).
Currently, Zambia exports sugar, cement, steel and other commodities through Mpulungu Port on Lake Tanganyika mainly into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Tanzania.
Mr Mushimba said the modernisation of Mpulungu Port will increase capacity and efficiency of the port to improve the transportation through regional corridors.
He said the development will also enhance safety of navigation on the lake and cargo handling.
“Government has embarked on the modernisation of Mpulungu Port which should provide access for Zambia to the Great Lakes market. This project is meant to increase storage capacity from 30,000 tonnes to about 60,000 tonnes and expand the quay from 80 to 150 meters so that it can take in two ships at a time instead of one,” he said in a statement.
Mr Mushimba said the feasibility study for the modernisation of Mpulungu port had been completed and was financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“This is a very important project both to the people of Mpulungu and the country in general, because it is going to open up the area for business and encourage business linkages between Zambia and countries in the Great Lakes Region.
“Further, the project will provide a fuel efficient transport model along the regional corridors, since research shows that waterways’ transport is the most efficient of all transport modes,” he said.