Port of Maputo: Government signs new concession contract to boost regional competitiveness

Porto de Maputo:  Governo assina novo contrato de concessão visando maior competitividade regional

The government will sign it, as early as Friday 23rd, the addendum extending the concession contract of the Port of Maputo for another 25 years from 2033, as a strategy to deal with future developments at the Port of Durban in South Africa.

The information was revealed today by the Director General of the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), Osório Lucas.

The investment is valued at more than 2.6 billion dollars, intended to improve infrastructure services.

During a briefing with journalists, Osório Lucas guaranteed that funds were available to increase cargo handling capacity, and that around 800 million dollars had already been invested.

"I have to say, without any ado, that we have already invested more than 800 million dollars here, on the same terms. Some with bank financing and some with reinvestment of our own funds," he said.

He explained, however, that the money earmarked for the renovations of the Port of Maputo will be made available in phases.

The Director General of the MPDC explained that the project to upgrade the Port of Maputo already existed, but that its implementation had been brought forward in order to capitalize on the surplus cargo handled at the Port of Durban in South Africa.

"We are a port in direct competition with South Africa, which has very clear plans, from the privatization of the Port of Durban, which was awarded to a Filipino concessionaire, as well as investment plans in the order of 5 billion dollars over the next 10 years," he said.

He clarified that one of the strategies to ensure the competitiveness of the Port of Maputo, for example by maintaining the flow of trucks, is precisely to anticipate investment plans

"This is a necessity for the country. Either we take action now, and get ahead of South Africa's investment plans, and position ourselves strategically, or we wait for this [South African] investment to happen and then the investment [in the Port of Maputo] becomes irrelevant," he explained.

On the occasion, he said that more than 70% of the cargo handled at the Port of Maputo arrives from South Africa, especially ores such as coal, chromium, nickel, phosphate and vermiculite.

"We are not a port that can afford to define its own destiny on its own. If South Africa takes action to adjust its ports before we do, it could have a [negative] impact on the thousands of lives that depend on it," he warned.

The Port of Maputo employs 2,000 workers directly and 10,000 indirectly; it has around 670 small and medium-sized companies that supply internal services.

"Therefore, the collapse or reduction in volumes at the Port of Maputo affects the MPDC and society as a whole. That's why we asked the government to extend the contract from 2023. The government challenged us to reassess our plans in order to strategically reposition the country," he explained.

Grade: Article updated on 22/02/2024, at 11:30 a.m., to highlight the quote from the Director General of the MPDC about the 800 million dollar investment, and to remove the fact that this is exclusively equity, as was stated at the end of the paragraph before the quote.

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