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Grindrod to Invest Heavily in Matola Terminal as MPDC Expands Maputo Capacity

Grindrod to Invest Heavily in Matola Terminal as MPDC Expands Maputo Capacity

Ports and logistics group Grindrod is set to invest big in its Matola drybulk terminal in Mozambique

Announcing Grindrod’s financial results for the year ended December 31 on Thursday, CEO Xolani Mbambo said the JSE-listed logistics group would spend the bulk of its R2.5-billion capital expenditure (capex) budget from 2024 to 2026 on increasing capacity at the Matola terminal.

Mbambo said the last investment Grindrod made into Matola was in 2017, with incremental investments in recent years taking capacity from 7.3-million tons a year to 8.9-million tons – a new record set last year.

To reach 12-million tons, however, requires the replacement of older equipment with bigger capacity equipment.

Outside Matola, the second biggest item (20%) on Grindrod’s capex budget was improving the group’s rolling stock so that it could become a regional rail operator in the Southern African Development Community, noted Mbambo.

“This spend will be ramped up as the confidence and clarity on the structure of third-party access [private sector access to South Africa’s rail network] improves over time.”

Grindrod’s investment announcement comes as the Mozambican government last month extended the Maputo Port Development Company’s (MPDC’s) concession to operate the Maputo port to 2058.

MPDC’s shareholders are DP World, Grindrod, Moçambique Gestores, and Mozambique State-owned railway operator, CFM.

The concession extension should see an investment of more than $600-million over the next three years, with a total of $2.06-billion in the longer-term pipeline to ultimately take the port’s capacity from 37-million tons a year to 54-million tons a year by 2058.

Last year the port handled 31-million tons of goods.

The initial three-year investment period should increase the capacity of the container terminal from the current 170 000 containers to 530 000 containers, and will include expanding the Matola terminal to 12-million tons a year.

Grindrod is the sub-concessionaire in the drybulk terminal and the car terminal at the Maputo port, as well as the nearby Matola terminal.

Mbambo said he had received “a call this morning” on the extension of Grindrod’s subconcession agreements, on the back of the MPDC extension.

“I’m pleased to confirm that I was assured that a corresponding subconcession extension for the Matola terminal would be granted, and we are looking to be signing that in the next few days.”

Mbambo added that negotiations on the two remaining subconcessions were still under way, but noted that he had “no doubt” the company would also secure these extensions.

Mbambo explained that the future of the Maputo car terminal depended on cargo flows in both directions, which meant that Grindrod would need to secure vehicle importation contracts, while then also matching these with export contracts.

He said there “was some heavy work” happening behind the scenes to make that balance a reality.

BMW in Pretoria in earlier years made use of the terminal to move its vehicles.

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South Africa has seven light vehicle assembly plants.

Another element that would secure the car terminal’s future would be for the facility to be the import hub for grey vehicles in Mozambique, as well as the transshipment hub for vehicles distributed north of South Africa.

Mbambo noted that any investment in the Maputo port would have to be linked to growth in the general logistics corridor, as the two elements had to be of similar capacity to succeed.

MPDC’s and Grindrod’s investment into the Maputo facilities comes as the Durban and Richards Bay ports in South Africa have both been faltering in efficiency and turnaround times.

Maputo is roughly the same distance from Gauteng as Durban.

Engineering Week


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