With the arrival in Maputo harbour of the dredger PALLIETER on Sunday, 19 September, work on dredging the port’s access channels, basins and berths has begun.
The dredging is being performed by Mascarenes Dredging & Management Services (‘Mascarenes’) and will take between 4 and 6 months to complete and will result in the depth of the Port being increased from the current 9.4m to 11m.
The Port is currently restricted from realising the growth potential envisaged by the Port Master Plan because of its inability to consistently handle larger vessels, which are forced to wait for favourable tides at the present design depth. This project will allow the Port to handle fully laden Panamax vessels with a gross tonnage of up to 70,000 tonnes, greatly enhancing its attractiveness to potential port users through greater efficiencies, wider market access and improved port accessibility.
The project is a joint venture between CFM, Grindrod and DP World, the joint owners of port operating company MPDC. The project has been funded by equity contributions from the shareholders and by external debt provided by the Standard Bank of South Africa. The cost of the dredge will be recovered through a dredging tariff that is to be levied on port users. The tariff has been designed by an international port consultancy to ensure equitable distribution amongst port users so that those vessels that will benefit the most from the increased draught will bear a greater proportion of the cost.
The dredge will involve the removal of almost 2 million cubic metres of material, including a portion of rock identified in one area of the access channel. Mascarenes will be employing a brand new technology to deal with the rock outcrop. The new technology consists of a specially-designed disk cutter-head being fitted to the suction unit of a conventional trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD). Although trial runs have been successfully performed, this will be the first time such a method has been utilized on a commercial basis.
The dredging project is the first major capital project undertaken following the extension of the MPDC concession agreement by the Government of Mozambique on 30 July 2010 and reflects the shareholders commitment to the Port of Maputo to fully implementing the Port Master Plan.
Source: ports, September 23, 2010;