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Beira and Nacala ports struggling to handle their load

Beira, Mozambique — 04 July 2012 – A lack of cranes, tractors, tugs and other port equipment is affecting the productivity and efficiency of the ports of Beira and Nacala in Mozambique, which can handle only 35% of their export loads.

Coal exports, which have really only just begun in earnest, are expected to rise sharply to around the 100Mtpa mark in the next few years. The success of this massive export initiative will be heavily dependent on the establishment of adequate rail and port infrastructure.

Citing a study carried out this year by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Macauhub News Agency said that the two ports were gradually positioning themselves as regional ports and attracting an increasing amount of traffic from East and West Africa.

The study – which was presented publicly in the two cities – noted that demand for the port of Beira was due to the fact that its access channel had undergone emergency dredging, an operation that had been finished in July 2011. As a result, the port had recovered its original depth of 8.5m, which allowed ships weighing up to 60,000t to moor at the port.

From a market point of view, the study showed that the ports of Beira and Nacala did not offer great advantages in terms of productivity and efficiency when compared to other ports in East and Southern Africa – for example Durban in South Africa, which was considered to be the greatest competitor for Mozambican ports.

For example, the USAID study concluded, waiting times at both ports were excessively high, reaching a maximum of 26 days as compared to just four at Durban’s container terminal, and far longer than the international benchmark waiting period of seven days.

The study recommended that a more succinct assessment be carried out on the causes of the high waiting periods at the ports of Beira and Nacala and their effects on profitability, capacity, and port operations.

Source: Macauhub. For more information, click here.