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Grindrod’s dry bulk terminal in the Port of Maputo gains traction

THE JSE-listed Grindrod holds a 65 percent share in the Matola Terminal joint venture with energy and commodities group Vitol holding the remaining stake. File photo.

THE JSE-listed Grindrod holds a 65 percent share in the Matola Terminal joint venture with energy and commodities group Vitol holding the remaining stake. File photo.

Published May 18, 2022

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LOGISTIC and freight group Grindrod said yesterday its Matola terminal in Maputo, Mozambique, had received a second train from Botswana last weekend - an important milestone amid the group’s expansion plans.

It had successfully discharged 50 wagons using the terminal’s tipplers.

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The JSE-listed Grindrod holds a 65 percent share in the Matola Terminal joint venture with energy and commodities group Vitol holding the remaining stake.

This came about due to a collaboration between the key stakeholders, African Railway Company, Botswana Rail, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Mozambican Railway Company (Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique), and Grindrod to create an export route to market for Botswana producers.

“Grindrod is proud to be part of this initiative, together with our partners and customers, unlocking trade corridors. It is envisaged that this corridor could realise an annual volume throughput of 350 000 – 400 000 metric tonnes of coal from Botswana earmarked for the global market,” it said.

The first train arrived on the April 26, marking a significant milestone for Grindrod’s dry bulk terminal in the main Port of Maputo, Mozambique, it said, adding that the rail consignment of 40 wagons, each carrying roughly 2 000 metric tonnes of mineral coal, was delivered from Botswana.

It explained that the train originated from Palapye in Botswana, transiting through Zimbabwe via the Chicualacuala rail network to its final destination. Grindrod discharged the wagons and loaded the cargo on a vessel destined for Europe. A sample load was sent to Grindrod’s Matola terminal, where the compatibility of the Botswana wagons on the terminal’s tipplers was confirmed.

In February Grindrod announced plans to triple capacity at its dry bulk port terminals in Mozambique to cater for growing demand for coal exports from South Africa.

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It said at its 65 percent-held Matola coal terminal the capacity of 7.3 million tonnes a year would be increased to 12 million tonnes in the short to medium term, and to 20 million tonnes in the long run.

At the company’s wholly-owned terminal at the Maputo port, current capacity of 1.5 million tonnes a year would increase to 4.5 million tonnes per annum in the first half of this year, an increase of 200 percent, it said.

In Grindrod’s results for the year ended December 31, 2021, released in March it said volumes handled at the Port of Maputo grew by 21 percent to a record 22.3 million tonnes, compared to the prior period. The berth rehabilitation and dedicated rail siding capital projects were now complete, with the dredge of the quayside having commenced.

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It said the Matola dry bulk terminal handled a record 8.3 million tonnes, up 50 percent on the prior period, and reported a monthly record volume of one million tonnes in September 2021.

“The focus for Port and Terminals in 2022 is to grow volumes handled by securing additional rail, continuing berth optimisation, further unlocking Mozambique bottlenecks, ramping up the manganese solution, and taking advantage of inland terminals as part of the supply chain,” it said.

It added that expansion plans for the dry bulk terminals in Maputo were approved and further studies on infrastructure and equipment upgrades will commence.

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Mozambique is beefing up its port infrastructure.

Last week President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi inaugurated a total of 1 058 metres of berthing area (comprising berths 6, 7, 8, and 9) at the Port of Maputo

The berths, rehabilitated, expanded, and dredged to depths of up to -16 metres, were now fully operational thereby allowing the port to receive and load an increasing number of bigger vessels (capesize).

Preceding the berth inauguration, Maputo Port Development Company held the 7th Conference of the Port of Maputo, presenting the port’s future up to and beyond 2043.

Some of the planned investments were the construction of a new berth for bulk cargo, creation of a food terminal (grains, sugar, vegetable oils, molasses), expansion of the container terminal, expansion of the intermodal container terminal and the expansion of Grindrod’s TCM (dry bulk) capacity to 12 million tons a year.

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