200809 Grindrod Rainbow.photo supplied

Grindrod, Africa’s largest shipping company, and Mozambique’s Maputo Port Development plan to invest $1.7 billion over the next five years to upgrade ports in the country as demand grows.

Capacity will be tripled at the Maputo and Matola ports to 50 million tons by 2020 from 15 million tons, the MPDC said in an e-mailed statement today.

The company has approved investment of $355 million in 2013 and 2014 to boost capacity at the Matola port terminal, according to the statement.

The coal terminal will be handling 7.2 million tons by 2014 from 6 million tons.

South Africa’s Exxaro Resources Ltd. and Coal of Africa Ltd. are among companies to have used Maputo to compensate for lack of rail capacity to Richard Bay Coal Terminal.

The MPDC is a joint-venture between the Mozambique Railway Co., Grindrod and DP World Ltd.

Grindrod shares advanced 0.6 percent to 19.95 rand by 4:22 p.m., in Johannesburg trading, extending this year’s rally to 26 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. - Bloomberg News