Fairway clear for larger vessels in Kinshasa
The maritime port of Matadi, on the river Congo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), reported a major success recently. The door to a new opportunity was opened by the dredging of the river Congo by the Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), which is operated by ICTSI. This meant that the call at an MGT berth at the end of January by the Safmarine Nuba was the first at the facility by a gearless containership and the first by a unit with a capacity to carry 2,500 teu.
“The port’s ability to handle vessels of this size unlocks beneficial economies of scale,” ICTSI said in a media release, adding that it will “also provide the most cost-efficient way to serve Kinshasa.”
Plans for panamax units too
MGT has a two-phase plan in place to team up with the DRC government for further dredging of the fairway to a new depth of 12.5 m. This will open the river Congo up to sailings all the way to the capital Kinshasa by vessels in the panamax class; there is great demand for such opportunities. A third phase could even enable access for (slightly) larger wafmax vessels, requiring 14 m of depth, ICTSI added.
“MGT can handle wafmax vessels today; it has two mobile harbour cranes in place that can handle 60 t each. A third one will be installed soon, making it possible to turn a 2,500 teu vessel such as the Safmarine Nuba around in about twelve hours,” according to MGT director general Tim Van Campen.
Matadi, on the left bank of the Congo, is the closest sea port to Kinshasa.