The project will entail linking the existing Moatize - Beira line with the Malawi border -Nacala line either with a line entirely through Mozambique or one which would follow a much shorter route across Malawi.
The 575km Moatize - Beira line is currently being upgraded to enable it to carry 6 million tonnes of coal a year. This should be completed by the end of the year, but the port of Beira is unable to handle large ships, and Vale expects to produce 11 million tonnes of coal a year, hence the need to reach Nacala. The government plans to invest $US 150 million to upgrade the Nacala line and its port during the next five years.