Mozambique has long been seen as a strong contender to an alternative for the congested South African ports. Besides the country’s favourable geography, much due to natural resources, the last decade has seen substantial developments in its logistic infrastructure, particularly when it comes to ports.
The deep port of Nacala in the north went through a much-needed refurbishment, Beira port enhanced its infrastructure and the Maputo Port constantly reported volume growth managing to secure a position as a gateway into the region.
Nevertheless, one of the major deterrents for shipping companies and logistic operations regarding Mozambique has always remained the bureaucratic processes and fees practiced by authorities.
A change of paradigm
Mozambique is stepping up to address these gaps as last August, President Nyusi introduced a series of 20 economic stimulus measures, dubbed PAE, aiming to resume economic growth, improve the business landscape, transparency, governance, and accelerate infrastructure projects.
As part of the package, there are a number of reforms addressing the competitiveness of national ports, airports & logistic corridors, and the signs that the Government’s effort is working are strong.
For years a foreign cargo truck crossing the border into Mozambique was subjected to a US$12 temporary vehicle import fee and an individual customs declaration at each crossing. The process made cargo transport to and from the country costly and sluggish considering that the procedures would involve different intervenient and as consequence take a long time. Not to mention the slow process of obtaining a visitor visa that selected foreigners would have to endure in order to comply with immigration requirements.
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As of next week, the government is waving the temporary vehicle import fees for trucks and it is expected to implement a multiple entry regime for customs procedures. As part of the same package, visitors can now apply for e-Visas online, streamlining and drastically reducing the waiting time to get a visa valid for up to 90 days.
The rules of transshipment which were also pointed out by industry players as an issue to bring more cargo into the country are being changed. Effective January 29th, shippers will no longer need to provide a guarantee nor do clearance at the entry point. With the new rules, these obstacles are removed giving place to a much simpler and expedited system, where a letter of commitment listing the final destination where clearance will take place becomes sufficient.
As the Government’s PAE package also foresees actions to ensure an increase in the flow of people and volume of goods to and from Mozambique, reinforcing the contribution of the sector to the national economy, industry observers expect to see further improvements within the coming months.