Find Freight, Shipping and Logistics expertise in Malawi
As a landlocked country, Malawi’s only access to the sea is via neighbouring countries, the port of choice being Nacala in Mozambique to the east; some freight was expected to continue to go via other ports such as Dar es Salaam in Tanzania until the routes through Nacala and Beira in Mozambique were fully rehabilitated (2011). There are also four major lake harbours in the country itself.
The country possesses around 15,451 km of public road network, along with around 9,478 km of undesignated community roads. This network is vital to the freighting industry, with roads handling more than 70% of internal freight and over 90% of international freight. Due to the large volume of internal freight the Malawian government has prioritised the maintenance and construction of roads.
The Malawian railway is privately operated by Central East African Railways (CEAR) Company Limited, a consortium of investors. The network extends from the Zambian border to connections with Mozambique’s Nacala Corridor to the East and Mozambique’s Beira corridor to the south. Since the sale of shares in 2008, the Nacala Corridor has been managed and operated solely by Mozambican investors. CEAR has provision for containerised, bagged and bulked cargo, providing import and export services to and from Malawi via the Port of Nacala.
The main airports are Chileka International, near Blantyre and Lilongwe International, which provide services to regional hubs and beyond, alongside three other commercial airports. Air Cargo Ltd, a subsidiary of Air Malawi which handles their cargo operations, has offices at each of the main airports. Numerous other air freight companies provide services into and out of the country.
In 2010 imports of goods to the country were valued at €1.1 billion, whilst exports of goods were calculated to be €0.7 billion. South Africa dominated the import market, with a 43.2% share in 2010, far ahead of the next highest, the European Union with 12.9%. However, the export market was led by the European Union with a 28.2% share, followed by South Africa with 8.5%.
Malawi has a number of locally based freight forwarders and cargo agents operating from Blantyre and Lilongwe. Prominent amongst these are Al Heelam Travel Limited, Cargo Management Logistics Limited, CMTC Limited, Express Line Tourism and Shipping Company Limited, General Freight Services, JSJ Freight International and KAS Freight Limited. The global consultancy firm PwC has an office in Blantyre.
The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (2012) ranked Malawi 73rd overall out of 155 countries, with a score of 2.81, 57.8% of the highest performer, Singapore. Malawi scored comparatively highly in the rankings, with a value above average for a sub-Saharan nation and a low income country in terms of each of the categories – customs (77th), infrastructure (64th), international shipments (48th), logistics competence (60th), tracking and tracing (102nd) and timeliness (88th).
The Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure is responsible for transport policy and the maintenance and development of the main transport networks. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for ownership of urban and district roads.