SA, Moz to set up business body

6 April 2005

Businesses in South Africa and Mozambique are to form the first South African-Mozambique Chamber of Commerce.

Trade between the two countries has been growing steadily since the creation of the Maputo Development Corridor, which links Gauteng to Maputo harbour.

“We now want to improve efficiency along the corridor and provide exporters and importers with cost-effective access to their nearest deep water port in Maputo”, said Brenda Horne, spokesperson for the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI).

She said the refurbishment of the port was part of an ambitious public-private partnership in which the South African and Mozambican governments had awarded concessions to the private sector to upgrade and operate infrastructure along the corridor.

Other improvements include the creation of the N4 toll route operated by Trans African Concessions, as well as upgrades of power and telecommunication links between South Africa and Mozambique.

The Mozambique government has also granted a concession to a consortium that includes South African rail utility Spoornet to develop and operate the rail line between Maputo and Ressano Garcia in Mozambique.

Among the major companies now exporting through the Maputo port are Transvaal Sugar, Capespan, BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Ore and Metal, Highveld Steel, Rio Tinto and Columbus Stainless.

Horne said that other major companies were considering using Maputo instead of more distant South African ports.

“Limpopo fruit exporters, for example, estimate they will save one-third of their landside transportation costs by exporting through Maputo rather than Durban”, she said.

Tzaneen, a centre of prolific fruit production in Limpopo province, is 450km by rail from Maputo and 1 156 km from Durban.

The Mozambique government has given the Mozambique Ports Development Company (MPDC) a long-term concession to develop and operate the entire port, including marine operations.

The MPDC has acquired a US$70-million loan to finance the venture, which has already resulted in substantial container volume increases, and in a 25% increase in throughput of first-class fruit through the fresh produce terminal.

Business people wishing to join the chamber of commerce can contact Ms Horne on (013) 755-6025 or e-mail brenda.horne@mcli.co.za.

Source: BuaNews