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NCIC and professional boards conduct joint monitoring visit to Nsanje Marka -Bangula railway rehabilitation project and others

Home 9 News 9 NCIC and professional boards conduct joint monitoring visit to Nsanje Marka -Bangula railway rehabilitation project and others

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) and professional boards conducted a joint monitoring visit to various infrastructure projects in the Southern region including the Nsanje Marka – Bangula rail rehabilitation project from the 29th February 2024. The aim of the visit was to appreciate the projects are progressing. The professional boards included the Malawi Engineering Institution and the Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors. Also included on the visit was the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (Department of Railway Services), the contractor, China Railway 20th Bureau Group Corporation Limited and the consultant; CIVILIA.

Director in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works responsible for Department of Railway Services, Engineer Geoffrey Magwede explained that the project was born out of master transport plan in 2017. The aim of the study was to consider how the transport sector was going to reduce transport costs. “The conclusion was that reducing transport costs needed to be in multimodal component like railway which would save money and reduce costs of transporting cargo by 50%”. He further explained that feasibility study was done which recommended several aspects. The project engaged China Railway 20th Bureau Group as its contractor.

Project Coordinator, Justice Mtande said that the project uploaded axle load capacity from 15 tons to 20 tons and speed was improved by 70km/hr. The project commenced in May 2022 and was expected to end on 17th November 2023 after running for 12 months. However, the project was extended from 17th November to 26th April 2024 due to challenges it faced. “The project has been extended and is running up to 160 days up to 26 April. Only 23% work has been done and real work is not done beyond 14km” said Justice Mtande. The project faced a lot of challenges including site conditions, fuel and forex issues, failure of the government to pay the contractor on time, devaluation and pricing in the market.

The team also visited Nyachipenda bridge which is carriage of the railway. The bridge is being raised to a higher level to minimize effects of floods. The bridge was initially 70-90km and currently 204km. Engineer Magwede said that they were forced to change the previous design because of Cyclone Freddy which affected them. Construction materials for the projects are coming from Beira through rail and it will be expected to carry 6 million tons after completion.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer for NCIC, Engineer Gerald Khonje, said that infrastructure is very important in any country. Contractors should create an environment where they can deliver quality infrastructure. “Good quality roads need good contractors delivered by both Malawi and foreign firms. We expect quality infrastructure from you contractors and when challenges are coming, they should be highlighted at the beginning of the works” said the CEO. He explained that involvement of all experts in works is to appreciate, point out challenges and be able to come out with solutions. He thanked the ministry, contractor, professional bodies and consultancy for coming and encouraged them to demonstrate, add value to the infrastructure done in the country.

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