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MPULUNGU Harbour Corporation Limited is considering setting up an economic zone at the port where industries will set up investments which to give access to the large market in the Great Lakes Region.

The harbour is  in talks with the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) to undertake feasibility studies on what was needed in developing a free trade area so that industries can set up there.

The Port’s Managing Director, Mr Dominic Bwalya in an interview that the Great Lakes region provided a bigger and wider market for Zambian products.

“What Zambia has is access to a much bigger market, right at the end of the 600 kilometres of the lake [Lake Tanganyika]. It opens up Zambia to that whole market in Burundi where if things were made there, we could pull cargo there and send cargo there,” he said.

Mr Bwalya also said the idea of the port and building a hinterland was to ensure that there were activities that could support the existence of the port.

He emphasised that need to build and develop a free trade zone which would help agro processing.

“There are minerals that are being manufactured out of the Eastern DRC and out of Burundi. We can set up a smelting facility somewhere within the hinterland,” Mr Bwalya said.

He however said it was unfortunate that the port was not receiving any cargo from the Great Lakes region as the vessels come empty.

This, he explained, meant that the cost of moving cargo was much higher because these businesses needed to cover the cost of moving the cargo both ways by only one load. “So they come empty to collect cargo and take to the great lakes region. So we need to put logistics in place, these include the air, train and the sea among others. But here we have a very big opportunity to do this by building a multi facility economic zone around Mpulungu so that begins to attract industries,” Mr Bwalya said.

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