$3bn plan for Mozambique port and rail authorities

23 September 2014

Mozambican, Swazi and South African dignitaries at the official inauguration of the Maputo Corridor JOC
Photo: Duane Daws

Mozambican port and rail authorities plan to invest around $3-billion in the coming few years to raise yearly throughput at the Maputo port to between 40-million and 50-million tons by 2020 and to migrate additional cargo from road to rail.

The port was recently dredged to a depth of 11 m and the new campaign would increase the port’s depth to 14 m, allowing it to handle larger cargo vessels.

A tender would be issued to secure private dredging expertise, with Transnet’s newest dredger, the Italeni, expected to arrive in Maputo this week to conduct maintenance dredging.

In parallel, railways utility Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) planned to invest around $2-billion into new infrastructure and rolling stock to increase rail’s contribution to cargo flows at the port, which still receives the majority of its cargo flows from road hauliers.

The MPDC, which is a private concessionaire that includes South Africa’s Grindrod and DP World as leading shareholders, handled 17-million tons in 2013 and volumes were expected to rise to over 19-million tons this year.

But with only about 40% of its freight delivered by rail, MPDC and CFM had developed a common development path in a bid to align the port’s expansion with proposed rail investments.

Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister Gabriel Muthisse also appealed for greater cooperation between rail and port operators across Southern Africa, arguing that competitiveness, rather than narrow nationalism, should guide future investment decisions.

He also urged other countries to follow the lead of the Maputo Corridor Port JOC, which was framed as a practical and successful example of regional integration.

In operation since 2013, the JOC, which coordinates the operations of Transnet Freight Rail, CFM, Swaziland Railway and the MPDC, has facilitated a material improvement in rail and port turnaround times.

Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said there was potential to increase efficiencies further, saying that the JOC was playing an important role in facilitating a more seamless trade experience.


By: Terence Creamer

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