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Maputo Port shipping channel to begin dredging in May

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In mid-May, the dredging of the access channel to the Port of Maputo, from -11 meters, to accommodate vessels with a sailing draft of up to 14.2 meters on the tide, is anticipated to begin.

Jan de Nul, headquartered in Luxembourg, will carry out the dredging, once an award is made.

The dredging project will last 10 months, including mobilisation and demobilisation.

The project will enable access for ships of up to 80 000 short t, making Maputo Port more competitive in regional and international shipping markets.

Mozambican banks are providing financing and the support of the government of Mozambique and of the Mozambican National Port and Railway Company, CFM, have been instrumental in ensuring the project is implemented.

The total cost of the project is approximately US$115 million and the involved parties are currently under contract negotiations.

CEO of Maputo Port Development Co. (MPDC), Osório Lucas, said: "Dredging the port access channel is a strategic decision that will not only help to achieve our target of handling 40 million tons per annum by the end of the concession period[AC(FS1], but will have long term benefits for the Mozambican economy. We believe it will attract more cargo, create more jobs, encourage the growth of smaller businesses associated with the port and highlight the need for more infrastructure development as well as increase our contribution to the economy of the country."

Dredging the channel is one of a range of projects embarked upon by MPDC and various terminal operators within the Port of Maputo recently, including the expansion of the ferrochrome terminal, new grain terminal, the expansion of the container terminal and rehabilitation of berths 3, 4 and 5. The rehabilitation of berths 6, 7 and 8 is currently under evaluation and is targeted to proceed in 2016.

This is the second dredging of the access channel to the port. In 2010/2011, it was dredged from -9.4 meters (depth designed for the channel) to -11 meters, which helped increase cargo handled from 12 million tons in 2011 to over 19 million short t in 2014.

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