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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 17:02 GMT
Mozambique privatises Maputo port
Maputo port
Maputo has great regional ambitions
Mozambique has privatised the operations of Maputo's port with plans to make it a major South African gateway.

Mersey Docks & Harbour Company, Britain's second largest ports operator, heads a consortium that will own 51% of the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC).

The consortium will take over operations of Maputo and the coal, grain and aluminium terminal of Matola from the government on 14 April.

"The handover of legal and operational responsibility is believed to be the first public/private partnership in Africa involving an integrated port authority," Mersey Docks said in a statement.

Under the 15-year concession, volumes are forecast to more than triple to over 13 million tonnes, with upgraded rail links to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa boosting trade.

Ports of call

Other consortium partners include Swedish construction company Skanska and Mozambique Gestores and Portuguese terminals operator Liscont.

The government of Mozambique and the national ports and railways authority, CFM, will hold the other 49% of the Maputo Port Development Company.

The British company said it would also invest $70m to regenerate the port.

Its main area of operation have until now been in the Mersey and Medway Rivers on the West Coast of the UK - including Liverpool's port - and as operator of Ireland's major container terminal in Dublin.

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