Macuse Port

From Global Energy Monitor

Macuse Port is a proposed new export port for Mozambican coal, to be located on the coast of Zambezia province in Macuse, Mozambique.


Macuse lies north-east of, and close to, the port city of Quelimane, Mozambique. Quelimane is not a coastal town, but lies on the Bons Sinais river, some 25 km from the sea.

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In November 2011, Casimiro Francisco, chair of the Mozambican Coal Development Association, announced that investment in the port of Quelimane was necessary to complement the ports of Beira and Nacala in the export of Mozambican coal. Mr. Francisco called for a privately funded expansion of the port coupled with construction of a 500km rail line linking the harbor with mines in the interior province of Tete.[1][2]

Concession agreements (2013)

In December 2013, Mozambique's Minister of Transport & Communications Gabriel Muthisse signed concession agreements with the Bangkok-based consortium Italian-Thai Development, granting ITD the right to construct a coal export port at Macuse (near Quelimane in Zambezia province) and develop a 525km railway connecting the port to the Moatize coalfields in Tete province. Construction on the US$5 billion project was scheduled to begin in 2016 and take five years.[3] ITD is a 60% shareholder in TML (Thai Mocambique Logistica), the consortium that is developing the railway-port project. The remaining 40% is shared equally between CFM (Mozambique’s publicly owned port and rail company) and the private business group CODIZA.[4]

Possible alternative

By summer 2014, the coastal locality of Supinho (also near Quelimane in Zambezia province) had been proposed as another possible site for the new deep-water port and was receiving serious consideration as an alternative to Macuse. Officials stated that they were awaiting results of Environmental and Social Impact Assessments before determining which port (Macuse or Supinho) was more suitable for the project.[5] [6]

Repeated delays

In July 2014, Mozambique said it was targeting 2018 as the completion date for the US$4.5 billion rail and port project to Macuse. It was reported that the project needed to operate at an initial 25 million tonnes per year capacity to be economically viable.[7][8][9]

In August 2017, Mamed Latif of Thai Mocambique Logistica (TML) announced that $2.1 billion had already been mobilized for the project and that the consortium anticipated financial closure in the first quarter of 2018. The Portuguese company Mota Engil and the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) will work as joint contractors for the project.[10]

As of September 2017, plans to begin construction of the Moatize-Macuse railway had been pushed back to late 2018, with completion scheduled for 2021. The Macuse port will be designed to accommodate ships of up to 80,000 tonnes, and annual exports are expected to start at 25 million tonnes per annum, eventually increasing to 100 million tonnes per annum. The projected cost of the project has come down to $2.7 billion ($810 million for the port and the remainder for the railway).[4]

In November 2017, the Mozambican government signed an agreement with TML to extend the railway 120 kilometers west of Moatize to Chitima, in the Cahora Bassa district. At the signing ceremony, Mozambican Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita announced that the start date for railway construction had been pushed back again to the second half of 2019.[11]

In 2020, Orlando Marques, the chairperson of Thai Mozambique Logistics, said building work was set to begin in 2021 and be complete in 2023, with the port starting operations in 2024. Most of Mozambique’s coal exports were still using the railway from Moatize, across southern Malawi, to the new mineral port at Nacala port. The railway to Macuse was expected to be considerably shorter, and would exclusively pass through Mozambican territory.[12][13]

The port is expected to start with an initial capacity of 33 million tons per annum, which could be expanded to 100 million tons per annum for the transportation of coal and general cargo. Two coal loading docks a coal stock area of 1.2 million tons alongside the port are planned. A liquid terminal "is also on the cards."[14][15]

As of October 2021, it is unclear if construction actually began as scheduled. 2021 Planet imagery for the potential site does not show obvious signs of progress.[16]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Thai Moçambique Logistica (TML)/Italian-Thai Development (ITD)
  • Location: Macuse, Zambezia Province, Mozambique
  • Proposed Coal Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 33 to 100
  • Status: Proposed
  • Projected In Service: 2024
  • Type: Exports
  • Coal Source: Moatize coal mines, Tete province, Mozambique
  • Cost of expansion: US$2.7 billion (port and rail)
  • Financing for expansion:

Articles and resources


  1. "Mozambique eyes Quelimane port upgrade for coal exports," Reuters, November 22, 2011
  2. "Mozambique: Coal Exports Require Upgrading Quelimane Port,", November 25, 2011
  3. "Concession signed for construction of 525 km coal railway," Railway Gazette, December 19, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Moatize-Macuse project to begin in late 2018 – govt," Club of Mozambique, September 4, 2017
  5. "Estudo ditará construção em Macuse ou Supinho," Noticias Online, July 4, 2014
  6. "Mozambique: No Decision Yet On Tete - Zambezia Rail Route," allAfrica, July 7, 2014
  7. "Timing 'tough' for $4.5 bln Thai-Mozambique coal rail-port project," Reuters, July 22, 2014
  8. "Mozambique turns to coal exports despite competition," BusinessDay Live, October 9, 2014
  9. "Mozambique plans more infrastructure to benefit coal miners and others," Mining Weekly, April 17, 2015
  10. "Financial closure of Macuse project early next year – Thai Mozambique Logistics," Club of Mozambique, August 31, 2017
  11. "Addendum signed to Macuse railway agreement," Club of Mozambique, November 28, 2017
  12. "Mozambique: Work on Macuse port to begin next year – AIM report," Club of Mozambique, November 30, 2020
  13. "Construção do porto de Macuse, em Moçambique, inicia-se em 2021," Macauhub, March 16, 2020
  14. "New coal port on track – and Covid-19 won’t stop it," August 14, 2020
  15. "Port Performance Parameters," Thai Moçambique Logistica, accessed October 2021
  16. See, e.g., "Construction of Macuse port and rail to start next year, concessionaire says," Zitamar, November 27, 2019 (displaying map from IMPACTO environmental consultation document)

Related articles

External resources

  • CCFB, "Beira Rail Concession", Workshop on Large Project Finance, Maputo, Mozambique, February 7, 2008. (Powerpoint Presentation).

External articles