Friday, February 5, 2010

Malawi names preferred concessionaire for lake transport service

The Malawi government has named Portuguese multidisciplinary engineering group Mota Engil the preferred bidder for the concession to manage Malawi Lake Services (MLS), a State-owned entity that runs water transport services in the Southern African country.

Malawi Privatistisation Commission (MPC) CEO Jimmy Lipunga says that Mota Engil was named the preferred concessionaire after shrugging off competition from two other firms: ETC Marine and Jeilo Investments.

“Mota Engil attained the highest evaluated score for both the technical and financial [aspects] and has been designated the preferred bidder,” says Lipunga.

The MPC will soon start negotiations with Mota Engil on how the Portuguese company can improve its technical and financial proposals so that they are more responsive to the aims of Malawi’s privatisation programme.

In its proposal, Mota Engil is offering $3,5-million to acquire MLS’s existing vessels, with a commitment to having them rehabilitated within two years.

“The preferred bidder will also invest in two luxury yachts for the tourist market,” says Lipunga.

He also states that Mota Engil has made provision for Malawian participation of up to 20% in a special-purpose vehicle that will operate the MLS concession. The Malawi government will be entitled to 2,5% of gross revenue, while 1% will be directed towards supporting the government-owned Marine Training College.

Lipunga reports that the Portuguese firm is also planning to build a $10-million hotel in the Monkey Bay area, a tourism hub, in a joint venture arrangement.

Mota Engil initially ventured into the Malawi market as a road construction contractor.

The company is currently constructing the Nsanje inland port, which will be Malawi’s port of call in the proposed $6-billion Shire–Zambezi waterway project, expected to link landlocked Malawi to the Indian Ocean through the dredging of a canal in the Shire and Zambezi rivers.

The Portuguese firm will also manage the port.

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