Maputo Corridor Initiative launched

Feb 21, 2004
Author: P&S

More than one hundred potential stakeholders in the Maputo Corridor linking South Africa with the Mozambique port of Maputo travelled by bus from Johannesburg to Maputo this week to see at first hand the progress made so far. They were also able to take part in the launch on Wednesday night (18 February) of the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI). Ports & Ships was there.

The trip was arranged by the MCLI, a private sector organisation, to create greater awareness of the Maputo Development Corridor among stakeholders. Chief executive officer of the MCLI is Brenda Horne, who has been seconded from Manganese Metal Company, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton. MCLI has as its founding members the following companies:

Manganese Metal Company (MMC)
Transvaal Sugar Limited (TSB)
TRAC – Trans African Concessions (who are rehabilitating the N4 highway)
Great Lakes Logistics t/a Transafrica Logistics
Matola Coal Terminal (TCM)
Mozambique Produce Terminal (MPT)
Mozambique International Port Services (MIPS)
Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC)

The aim and intention of the MCLI is to work with organised business and South African and Mozambique authorities to improve efficiencies along the corridor and provide exporters and importers with cost-effective access to their nearest deep water port in Maputo and neighbouring Matola, said Horne.

“MCLI will market greater utilisation of the Maputo Corridor which runs along the N4 toll route linking Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces to Maputo in southern Mozambique. MCLI will coordinate the views and requirements of corridor investors, service providers and users to promote greater utilisation of the corridor transportation route.”

The ports of Maputo and Matola are undergoing a USD70 million upgrade by the Maputo Port Development Company, which has been awarded a long-term concession by the Mozambique government to develop and operate the entire port, including all marine operations.

The port improvements follow upgrading of several terminals operated by private firms such as MIPS (Mozambique International Port Services), which operates the container terminal. MIPS is a combined venture between P&O Ports (67%) and CFM (37%), the national railway and port company.

The refurbishment of the port is part of an ambitious public-private partnership in which the South African and Mozambique governments have awarded concessions to the private sector to upgrade and operate infrastructure along the corridor, said Horne.

Rail and road concessions

“Other improvements include the upgrading into a modern toll route of the N4 highway which is operated by Trans African Concessions (TRAC), as well as upgrades of power and telecommunication links between South Africa and Mozambique. The Mozambique government has also granted a consortium, which includes South African rail utility Spoornet, the concession to develop and operate the rail line between Maputo and Ressano Garcia on Mozambique’s border with South Africa.”

Spoornet’s involvement means that rail lines between SA and Mozambique will be run by one operator, opening the way for development of a seamless rail transportation route.

This week’s tour of inspection again highlighted the urgent need to overcome bureaucracy and other bottlenecks so as to enable a smoother transition of goods and people at the border posts of Komatipoort (SA) and Ressano Garcia (Mozambique). Incremental improvements have been made, and Horne says MCLI will work with authorities to introduce greater efficiencies in the operation of this vital link in the corridor transportation route.

Maputo volumes up

According to the MCLI South African traffic through Maputo port has increased gradually.

“Total volumes increased from 4.3 million tonnes in 2002 to 4.9mt in 2003. Container volumes grew 15% in 2003 (to 40,000 TEUs) and the Fresh Produce Terminal has reported a record 25% increase in throughput of first class fruit over the previous export season.”

Among the major companies now exporting through the port are Transvaal Sugar, Capespan, BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Ore and Metal, Highveld Steel, Rio Tinto and Columbus Stainless.

Horne says that other major companies such as BMW have publicly stated they are seriously considering Maputo as an alternative port to more distant SA ports. (It is thought that BMW will continue using Durban for the export of right-hand BMW vehicles, but will use Maputo once it begins producing left hand motorcars for export.)

“Limpopo fruit exporters, for example, estimate they will save one third of their landside transportation costs by exporting through Maputo rather than Durban. Tzaneen, centre of prolific fruit production in Limpopo province, is 450 km by rail from Maputo and 1,156 km from Durban,” said Horne.

“It’s now up to the private sector to build on this foundation and to work with organised business and the authorities to turn the corridor into the first choice for the region’s exporters and importers. Greater utilisation of the corridor will create better economies of scale and a more cost-effective transportation route.”

(Further reports about Maputo and its port will follow soon)

MCLI can be contacted at
Tel 27 (0)13 755 6025
Email to Brenda Horne at
Or visit the website at

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