Coal boom triggers Mozambique’s biggest port to triple capacity

Capacity at the company’s wholly-owned terminal at the Maputo port, the country’s biggest, will grow to 4.5 million tons annually by the end of June from 1.5 million tons.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Grindrod Ltd., the Johannesburg-listed logistics operator, plans to triple capacity at its drybulk port terminals in Mozambique to cater for growing demand for coal exports from neighbouring South Africa, the company said Monday.

Capacity at the company’s wholly-owned terminal at the Maputo port, the country’s biggest, will grow to 4.5 million tons annually by the end of June from 1.5 million tons. While that at its 65%-held Matola coal terminal will increase to 12 million tons yearly from the current 7.3 million tons “in the short to medium term,” Grindrod said in a statement on its website.

The company’s decision comes as demand for coal has surged with economies bouncing back from Covid-19, and South African mining companies are searching for alternatives to export their goods due to snarl-ups at the nation’s own ports and railways, potentially costing billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Still, Mozambique is not without its challenges. Trucks crossing the South African border to Mozambique at times can wait up to three days in queues of more than 15 kilometers (about 9 miles) long.

“Critical to both projects is unlocking road and rail bottlenecks along the corridor,” Grindrod said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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