Green light for Maputo port concessioning

Mar 25, 2003
Author: P&S

After several years of delays the concessioning of the port of Maputo has finally been signed.

As from 14 April a consortium consisting of Mersey Docks & Harbour Company, the Swedish civil engineering group Skanska and a Portuguese group Liscont Port Operators will assume control of all port operations including marine services in the Mozambique capital and chief port.

The new port operator, known as Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), will manage the port for a period of 15 years. MPDC holds a 51 % stake in the port, with the balance being held by CFM, the Mozambique transport parastatal.

The port of Maputo is currently handling less than 4 million tonne of cargo annually, down from a peak in the region of 14mt during colonial days, when by agreement a percentage of South African exports made use of the port.

Maputo lies strategically close to the Mpumalanga province of South Africa and is also the closest port to the industrial and coalmining heartland of South Africa. A number of South African interests, including the BMW motor manufacturer based at Rosslyn outside Pretoria, have expressed interest in using the port once efficiencies are provided. Maputo is also strategically positioned for Zimbabwean and Zambian exports.

The upgrade of the harbour would entail, among other projects, completing the dredging of the harbour and its approaches and acquiring efficient tugs and personnel. It is reported that MPDC intends purchasing two tugs from a Far East supplier but this hasnít been confirmed.

Last year MPDCís chief executive Alec Don described the dredging of the harbour and its approaches and improvements to the port road, rail networks and wharves and warehouses as the immediate priorities. He said the port would be upgraded with new cranes and other cargo handling equipment.

It would however be surprising if too much investment were put into wharfside cranes as many ships use their own gear.

The Maputo Container Terminal is not part of the consortium and has been operated since 1996 by Mozambique International Port Services (MIPS), a partnership involving the South African Rennies Group (Manica), P&O Ports, and CFM who holds a one third share. P&O Ports are the managers of the container terminal.

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