MAPUTO– The Port of Maputo has successfully handled the first ship weighing more than 100,000 tons, thanks to the dredging of its access channel in 2016/2017

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) said in a statement here Wednesday that the vessel in question, the 104,229-DWT bulk carrier MV Magali, left the port on Tuesday night, laden with 100,674 tonnes of chrome destined for China.

Such a large ship was only able to use Maputo port because the dredging concluded last year deepened the access channel from 11 to 14.2 metres. Without this dredging the port could not have handled Cape-size ships.

The MPDC statement noted that even before the dredging was completed, the port received in late 2016 the 90,000-tonne bulk carrier Mineral Belgium, at that time the largest ship ever to use the port. The Magali has set a new record for the port.

The MPDC added that the rehabilitation of quays 6, 7, 8 and 9 at the port was due to begin this quarter. Together, they amount to 1,058 metres of berth. At these berths, the depth will be increased to 15 metres, allowing Maputo to receive and load very large vessels on a regular basis.

The rehabilitation of quay 9 is scheduled for February 2019, and work on the other three should be completed by December 2019.

MPDC is a consortium between Mozambique’s publicly-owned ports and rail company, CFM, which holds 49 per cent of the shares, and Portus Indico, with 51 per cent. The latter is a partnership between DP World of Dubai (with 48.5 per cent), Grindrod of South Africa (also 48.5 per cent) and the Mozambican private company, Mocambique Gestores (three per cent).

MPDC was granted the lease on Maputo port in April 2003 for 15 years, and in 2010 the lease was extended for a further 15 years, with the option of an additional ten years after 2033.