The challenge is in the hinterland
The factors driving the expansion of the port of Maputo in Mozambique are its proximity to the key South African export market and the raw materials boom in the country. In the 110th year since the founding of the gateway Johann Botha, the commercial director of the port development company, discussed his goals with ITJ’s editor-in-chief Christian Doepgen.
Mr Botha, what organisational form have you selected for the operation of the port and terminals in Maputo?
Since 2003 the concessionaire of the facility has been the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), a corporation jointly held by the state-owned enterprise Mozambique Ports and Railways (CFM), Dubai’s DP World and Grindrod, a South African firm. Both of the private shareholders also operate terminals.
Do you mean all of the terminals?
In addition to the main hub of Maputo and Matola, there’s also the state-operated Stema terminal, which mainly handles grain from Zimbabwe.
What are the MPDC’s obligations?
When the concession was granted for a period of 15 years, the contract stipulated an investment volume of USD 400 million. The corporation has already invested more than USD 10 billion by now. The concession runs until 2033, with an option to extend it for another ten years.
What do Maputo’s throughput figures for the past three years look like?
The more than 17 million t of cargo handled in the facility in 2013 set a new record, and we see the 20 million t mark as a realistic target for 2014. That represents a 70% increase over the figures for 2010. We’ve managed to raise year-on-year cargo throughput by 2 to 3 million t in the timeframe between 2012 and 2014.
What targets have you set for the port?
There’s a master plan that defines clear targets. By 2020 we want to see throughput for the entire complex augment to 40 million t. To break that down, the main hub alone will have to increase its volume from 13 to 20 million t and Matola will have to raise its contribution from 7 to 13 million t.
To achieve these targets, investments in the existing facilities are essential.
Yes, the next few years will see another USD 1.8 billion of investment in the hub’s facilities. The approach to the gateway will be deepened from 11 to 14 m by the end of 2015, to enable larger ships to call. In addition, we’ve created a huge amount of extra storage capacity over the past three years on undeveloped land.
Where are the bottlenecks today?
Heavy use of the berths, some of which are more than 100 years old, have made renovations necessary. The existing storage areas are approaching the limits of their capacity. But our greatest challenge right now are connections with the hinterland. We want to improve the modal split in favour of rail, because 77% of freight still arrives in Maputo by truck.
How do you want to improve the railfreight situation?
Starting in January 2015, we’re going to take charge of shunting services ourselves. Our goal is to reduce the handling time needed for a blocktrain with 40 cars from 18 to 12 hours.
Over the past three years a tremendous amount of money has been invested in the railway. The MPDC has contributed around USD 105 million. Because transit cargo makes up a major share of our volume, the 88 km railway line to the South African border, and onward to the commercial centre of Gauteng, has been comprehensively reinforced. By 2016 we will see a significant rise from the 20% share of goods transported by rail.
What role does the centre play as a driver of growth in Mozambique?
Maputo alone accounts for 25% of all customs revenues in Mozambique. We have a tremendous responsibility to the country.
Find out more about developments in the region at this forthcoming conference.
9th Indian Ocean Ports and Logistics 2015, in Maputo, Mozambique, from 22 to 23 January 2015.