The port of Pemba in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, is failing to entice regional businesses to use its facilities despite economic development and its advantage of lying in the world’s third largest natural bay.
According to a report in the online issue of the newspaper “O Pais”, the depth of water for docking at the port is 12 metres. In addition, the access channel is eight metres deep at low tide. This allows for larger ships to enter port throughout the day.
However, “O Pais” describes the port as being like a “ghost town” with few ships using the facilities. It notes that the average usage is only two ships per month, with some months going by without the port receiving any large ships vital for its financial survival.
According to Mozambique’s publicly owned ports and rail company CFM, which operates the port, “big mining companies that exploit graphite in the district of Balama, here in Cabo Delgado, prefer to take their goods in trucks long distances to the port of Nacala in Nampula province”.
In April, President Filipe Nyusi inaugurated Syrah Resources’ mine in Balama, which will produce 250,000 tonnes of graphite per year when operating at peak capacity. The opencast mine has been in operation since November, exporting to markets in Europe, America and Asia. In the first six months of operation, it produced over 160,000 tonnes of graphite.
However, the company has chosen to use Nacala, despite the port being 450 kilometres away compared with just 260 kilometres to the port of Pemba.
Switching this traffic to Pemba would transform the fortunes of the port which has seen its traffic drop from 289,000 tonnes of goods in 2013 to only 150,000 tonnes last year.
Source: Club of Mozambique