Maputo growth likely

Dec 23, 2002
Author: P&S

The signing of an agreement in December for the consortium known as Ressano Garcia Railway Company to operate the Maputo - Komatipoort railway over the next 15 years is probably the best news for the port of Maputo for some time.

The announcement will raise the hopes of those who see the port as a viable alternative to Durban or Richards Bay.

In terms of the US.7 million concession, an additional USm is to be spent on upgrading the line to Spoornet standards, which may include electrifying the railway line all the way into Maputo.

The consortium consists of Spoornet International Joint Ventures, New Limpopo Bridge Projects Investments, Old Mutual, Gensec, Nedcor Investment Bank, the SA Infrastructure Fund, and Rennies Terminals who collectively hold 51 percent of the company, with CFM holding the balance.

Prior to the Mozambique civil war Maputo port handled about 15 million tonnes of cargo, with a high percentage coming in exports from what was then known as the Transvaal. By comparison, the port of Durban handled 22mt of cargo at that time.

Since then Maputo's traffic has decreased drastically and by 2001 the railway handled a mere 3.2mt of freight. According to a port spokesman the port volumes are expected to increase to 15mt within 15 years, providing there is further investment in the Matola coal terminal near Maputo.

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) intends spending USm over three years on improving and upgrading the port facilities once a formal concession agreement is signed. This consortium consists of Mersey Docks & Harbour Company of the UK, Skanska of Sweden (a construction company) and Portuguese port operator Liscont.

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