MAPUTO, -- A new railway bridge over the Umbeluzi River will greatly increase the carrying capacity of the railway from the Mozambican capital, Maputo, to neighbouring Swaziland, says Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita.

The existing bridge, which is 50 years old, can only carry wagons of up to 18.5 tonnes per axle. On the new bridge, being built alongside the old one, this limit rises to 27 tonnes per axle.

Visiting the progress of work on the new bridge on Monday, Mesquita told the media that its increased capacity "will be reflected in our economy, and it will allow greater safety in the movement of trains".

Work on the bridge began in June 2015, and it should be completed in August this year.

Mesquita, who later visited Maputo International Airport to observe work on the rehabilitation of the runway, was told that the work was 80 per cent complete, and that the deadline for completion of the work in December this year would be met.

According to a report in the independent daily O Pais, with the rehabilitation, the airport runway will be able to receive aircraft of all sizes, including the Airbus A380.

Work on the runway is costing the publicly owned Mozambican Airports Company (ADM) 65 million US dollars.

ADM's goal is to attract more international airlines to fly to Maputo. It is expected that later this year Air Mauritius and Emirates will begin regular flights to Maputo. They will join South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, the Portuguese company TAP, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airways who already operate flights to Maputo.