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Maputo port goes for growth

Planned investments at the port look set to move it into a league where it can be more of a regional hub

Good afternoon. After 18 months of negotiations, the private consortium that manages the port of Maputo has struck a deal with the Mozambican government to invest $2bn in the port over the next 35 years, in exchange for having their concession to run the port extended until 2058 (see below).

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No doubt some of the investment was going to be needed by organic growth in demand, but it is notable that about half of the $2bn is going to be invested between now and 2033. Indeed, Zitamar News understands that about $250m will be invested in the next two years alone. It seems clear that the DP World-led concessionaire, Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), is determined to stimulate new demand and attract traffic from other ports in south-eastern Africa.

That means catching up with the major South African ports of Richards Bay and Durban. Currently, Durban dominates the market for large-scale intercontinental shipping, as the largest container port in sub-Saharan Africa. Economies of scale matter at this level. MPDC’s plans are understood to focus squarely on relatively lucrative container traffic, and will see Maputo’s container handling capacity increase to 1m containers a year; still behind the 3.6m capacity currently reported for Durban, but a step change, and one which may allow Maputo to carve out some long-distance traffic for itself.

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