Dredging will start in mid-May to deepen the access channel to the port of Maputo, to allow ships of up to 80,000 tonnes to enter the port, according to the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), which holds the lease on the port.
The channel will be dredged from the current depth of 11 metres to 14.2 metres at high tide. The task will be undertaken by the international dredging company, Jan de Nul, based in Luxemburg, and will take ten months.
According to an MPDC Wednesaday press release, the dredging will make Maputo Port more comptitive on the regional and international markets. The funding will come from Mozambican banks, and MPDC adds that support from its partners, including the Mozambican government, “has been fundamental for guaranteeing implementation of the project”.
The total cost of the dredging is about 115 million US dollars, and the parties inmvolved are currently holding contractual negotiations,
“Dredging the port access channel is a strategic decision, which will not only allow us to reach the established target of handling 40 million tonnes of cargo a year by the end of the lease (in 2035), but which will also have long term benefits for the Mozambican economy”. said the MPDC Executive Director, Osorio Lucas, cited in the release.
“We are confident that this investment will attract more cargo, create more jobs, develop more small and medium enterprises whose business is associated with the port, and trigger the need for more infrastructure development”, said Lucas.
The release notes that the dredging is just one of several projects undertaken by MPDC and various of the operators of the port terminals. They include the expansion of the ferro-chrome terminal, a new grain terminal, expansion of the container terminal, and rehabilitation of quays 3, 4 and 5.
The rehabilitation of three more quays (6, 7 and 8) is being evaluated and should happen later this year. “These developments will allow the port to respond to increasing demands, and to reach significantly larger volumes of cargo handed per year”, said the release.
The major investments began in 2008 when the British Mersey Ports and Harbour company, whose poor performance had infuriated the Mozambican porets and rail company CFM, pulled out of MPDC, giving way to today’s major shareholders, DP World of Dubai and Grindrod of South Africa.
This is the second dredging of the access channel. In 2010-2011 the channel was deepened from 9.4 to 11 metres, which contributed to increasing the volume of cargo passing though the port from 12 million tonnes in 2011 to 19 million in 2014.
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