China Railway Construction Corp. (1186.HK) plans to construct a $2.3 billion railway line from Zambia to Malawi, offering the mineral-rich but landlocked nation an alternative rail access to a sea port.

China Railway Construction said the value of the contract represents about 2.51% of its operating revenue in 2015, and expects the project to be completed in four years.

The 400-kilometer line will run from Chipata, in central Zambia, connecting to an existing line in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital and Mozambique’s port city of Nacala, accordingto Brian Mushimba, Zambia’s transport and communications minister.

The project will reduce the distance by railway from central Zambia to the Indian Ocean to 1,500 kilometers. Currently, Zambia relies on the 1,860-kilometer Tazara railway to Tanzania’s Dar Es Salaam as its sole rail link to a seaport.

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