MAPUTO, The port of Beira in central Mozambique has more than tripled its container-handling capacity after Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Rebelo inaugurated five new access lanes to the port’s container terminal on Tuesday, according to media reports here.

The increased facility of movement to and from the terminal, and a three-hectare increase in the size of the terminal will allow it to handle 700,000 containers a year, more than three times the current figure of 200,000 containers.

The Dutch company, Cornelder, which manages Beira Port, invested 6.2 million US dollars in the new access lanes, which are intended to increase the competitiveness of the port, and its capacity to attract traffic from other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region, such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi and from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Rebelo said it had always been the government’s dream to make Beira a competitive port and to ensure a continual increase in traffic through the port. She urged Cornelder to continue its investments at Beira port so as reduce the time taken in handling cargo, and to charge competitive tariffs.

Corndelder managing director Jan de Vries said the new access infrastructure will increase the terminal’s capacity to receive containers, particularly during peak periods. Previously just one road led into the container terminal with one lane in each direction, which caused congestion.

The inauguration of the new roads to the port, de Vries said, coincided with work to deepen the port’s access channel. The dredging began in November and would continue until April 2018.

The deeper access channel will allow ships of up to 60,000 tonnes to dock at Beira at any time of day or night.