Monday , 21 October 2019
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Durban-based Grindrod Group has extended its interests in the port of Maputo with the acquisition of UK shareholder Mersey Docks Group’s shares in Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC). This follows closely Grindrod’s acquisition last November of the 12% stake held by Swedish construction company Skanska as well as an earlier purchase of Portuguese Liscont’s shareholding as reporterd by South Africa’s Ports & Ships Newsletter.

Grinrod and DP World take over Maputo

MPDC is the operating company formed to operate the concession for the ports of Maputo and Matola, which covers both marine operations and much of the port terminals.

In the past few years Grindrod has set about systematically establishing an increasing interest and involvement in the Mozambique port including a 95% acquisition of the adjacent Matola coal terminal. Meanwhile, Dubai-based DP World, with which Grindrod will now work in partnership, inherited the concession to operate the port’s container terminal when that company acquired P&O Ports’ international interests.

Following the latest development Grindrod has entered into a partnering agreement with DP World in which each company will hold a 48.5% share of Portus Indico, of which MPDC forms its operating arm. A local Mozambique group owns the remaining balance of 3%.

On the operating side the Mozambique government in turn retains a 49% share in MPDC through its national port and rail authority CFM with Portus Indico/MPDC holding the other 51%.

According to news reports the group intends spending US$100m on Port Maputo, which may include investments already made. Grindrod is however known to be developing a car terminal at the port and has extensively increased the capacity of the Matola coal and ore terminal.

Having been locked out of any possible South African port concessioning by the South African government’s reluctance to enter into privatisation deals, Grindrod has since clearly turned its attention to the neighbouring states. In addition to Maputo the company has made considerable investment in the bulk terminal at Walvis Bay. The latest involvements at Maputo however, which bring with it a partnering programme with DP World, one of the world’s leading terminal operators, makes the Maputo development highly interesting and something to watch in the future.