A study prepared by the consultancy Cooningarth Economists, in partnership with Standard Bank, estimates that the modernization and expansion of the Port of Maputo could result in an annual contribution of around US$345 million to Mozambique’s gross domestic product (GDP) up to 2058, and would also have broader macroeconomic impacts in terms of tax revenue, job creation, household income and trade flows.
The document also indicates that the government may receive US$79 million in taxes (direct and indirect) annually linked to the project, and more than US$526 million in additional taxes associated with the increase in economic activity (volume of trade) resulting from the modernization and expansion of the port, with the fiscal impact approximately US$605 million on average over the project period.
The entire value chain is expected to contribute US$824 million (about 5.8% of Mozambique’s current GDP) and US$1.2 billion on average annually to Mozambican and South African GDP, respectively, with 133,000 additional jobs in Mozambique and 67,000 in South Africa.
In addition, investments in Maputo Port are expected to increase the income of Mozambican and South African households by US$437 million and US$777 million respectively.
The document emphasises that the aforementioned estimates take into account the current inefficiency in the management of cargo flows at the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post, meaning that significant additional benefits could be obtained once the constraints there are mitigated.
The Port of Maputo is a key catalyst for trade in the Mozambican economy and that of other countries in the SADC region. It is an integral part of the Maputo Logistics Corridor, which includes the Ressano Garcia Border Post, railway lines from Maputo to Gauteng and National Road Number Four (N4).
The Port of Maputo is responsible for more than 60% of Maputo Logistics Corridor (CLM) freight traffic.
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The CLM’s main function is facilitating the transport of cargo from South Africa and the “hinterland” countries. The main goods transported along the corridor are ores (crude and processed) and agricultural products. Although the majority of exported minerals come from South Africa, it is expected that the modernization and expansion of the port will encourage more countries in the region (such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo) to use this critical infrastructure to boost their economies.
Currently, the CLM handles, on average, 1,600 freight trucks per day, representing around 30 million tons per year, a figure which continues to increase.
In addition to the socio-economic impact, the study focused on the consequences of the mobility restrictions that the Ressano Garcia border post represents for the operation of the CLM, which feeds the Port of Maputo.
According to the study, the main constraints are related to bureaucracy in customs, tax authorities and other government bodies and departments. It also underlines that the problems cannot be attributed solely to infrastructure deficiencies.
With regard to the Ressano Garcia border post, the study recommends reducing bureaucracy and investing in the modernization of technological infrastructure and the railway system, including rolling stock. It also recommends the introduction of a ‘one-stop post’ at Ressano Garcia, and the implementation of agreements establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Additionally, the study suggests the introduction of a pre-clearance [customs] system to speed up trade and reduce waiting times via the pre-clearance of cargo before arrival at the border, coordinating inspections and improving risk information sharing.
The proposed interventions will improve the efficiency of the various actors and positively influence performance at the border. The implementation of these measures will not only improve the effectiveness of coordination and cooperation, but will also lead to an improvement in the efficiency of services provided at the border, thus resulting in increased trade, productivity and competitiveness, as well as a significant reduction in delays, congestion and logistical costs, thereby giving the Port of Maputo a significant competitive advantage.