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MBABANE – The Kingdom of Eswatini and Mozambique have entered into a groundbreaking railway deal that will see cargo between the two countries triple in the next twelve months.

The agreement was signed in Maputo over the past weekend. Central to this agreement is the cancellation of the train border at Goba crossing, which will immediately increase the amount of coal being ferried between the two countries from 3 600 tonnes a day to 7 200 tonnes. In upcoming months, the transportation of sugar and fuel is expected to increase exponentially too, with an increase in the number of cargo trains servicing the route from two trains to four per day.


At the signing of the agreement at Port of Maputo in Mozambique, Eswatini was represented by the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eswatini Railways, Nixon Dlamini, Chairman of Eswatini Railways’ Board of Director, Alex Mngomezulu and other officials. Mozambique was represented by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mateus Magala and his delegation. The Mozambicans addressed the agreement as the ‘direct train connections’, an instrument that would strengthen the circulation of goods, particularly coal, through the Goba border.

Eswatini Railways Corporate Communications Manager Sive Manana said coal exports would multiply immediately. He said this would be followed by an increase in the amount of sugar and fuel, as these were two key commodities that were traded between the two countries.  “We already move bulk sugar from Mlawula (along the road to Simunye in the Lubombo Region) to Maputo port, and also import fuel from Maputo to distributors in Matsapha. Those are the main commodities which we hope will increase significantly in the coming months, over and above coal exports,” he said.

Speaking to Mozambique’s press, the Mozambique Minister of Transport and Communications, Magala, confirmed that the circulation of trains from one country to the other would now be made without the mandatory stop at the Goba border crossing, which linked Mozambique and Eswatini. “The volume of coal transported will increase from 3 600 tonnes to 7 200 tonnes a day. A total of 190 000 tonnes of cargo from Eswatini was transported last year via the Goba railway, and this year we expect that 788 000 tonnes will be transported,” he told daily newspaper, Notícias.


Magala implored that this agreement between his country and Eswatini represented the first steps towards the completion of the African Free Trade Area (AFTA) as proposed.  The agreement, in principle, is between railway companies Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (Mozambique) and Eswatini Railways. The groundbreaking agreement is expected to allow for the seamless transfer of goods between the two countries. The Matsapha-Maputo rail link is the oldest in the country, having been established in 1964.The line was handed over to Mozambique Railways’ administration until 1978. Shortly after the expiry of the concession, a new 90km line was opened from a junction at Phuzumoya (Siphofaneni) to Golela on the South African border, where it connected with South African Railways. This was effectively the second rail link to be operated by Eswatini Railways.

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