The Maputo Port Development Company, MPDC, the consortium which holds the lease on operating the port of Maputo, Mozambique, and in which Dubai's DP World holds a major stake, announced this week that it is in the process of selecting the company that will dredge the port access channel, increasing its depth from the current 11 metres to 14 metres. The decision was announced by the Mozambique News Agency, AIM.
MPDC is a consortium between the publicly owned ports and rail company, CFM, and private company Portus Indico, a joint venture between DP World, Grindrod of South Africa and local company, Mocambique Gestores.
DP World holds a thirty year concession to operate the container terminal at Maputo Port until 2033, with an option to extend this for a further ten years.
According to AIM, the dredging will begin in the third quarter of this year, and, when complete, it will allow ships of up to 80,000 tonnes to enter the port.
The MPDC Chief Executive Officer, Osorio Lucas, said that the dredging "is a strategic decision which will not only allow us to reach our target of handling 40 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2020, but will have a multiplier effect on the Mozambican economy".
This is the second major increase in the depth of the port access channel. In 2010/11 the channel was dredged from its original depth of 9.4 metres to 11 metres. This allowed ships of up to 65,000 tonnes to dock and the MPDC believes this contributed to the increase in cargo handled at the port from 12 million tonnes in 2011 to 19 million tonnes in 2014.
MPDC regards the dredging as "the anchor for implementing the master plan for the port" with its target to boost the port's annual capacity to 40 million tonnes.