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Grindrod Reveals Maputo Coal Terminal Upgrade Plans


South African logistics firm Grindrod has announced plans to spend Rand 2.5 billion (US$133.1 million) in the next three years on maintaining its asset base, including expanding the capacity of the Matola coal terminal at Mozambique’s Port of Maputo.
The company’s capital expenditure (capex) in the year ending December 2023 totalled Rand 1.1 billion (US$58.5 million), with about half of that invested in expansionary activities in logistics and ports and terminals.
Speaking at the firm’s 2023 annual financial results presentation in early March, CEO Xolani Mbambo said the last investment Grindrod made in Matola was in 2017, which achieved a theoretical capacity of 7.3 million tonnes a year. Since then, incremental, non-consequential investments have boosted annual capacity to 8.9 million. The target now is 12 million tonnes through the replacement of old equipment with bigger-capacity equipment.
Apart from the Matola upgrade, Grindrod is planning to spend 20% of capex on rolling stock, positioning itself as a regional rail operator within the SADC region. The expenditure will be ramped up as the confidence and clarity of the structure of the third-party access improves over time. 
“Things are looking positive but there is some level of certainty required before the board allows us to go all out on the spend,” Mbambo said.
Along with Dubai port operator DP World and Mozambique Gestores, Grindrod is part of the private consortium Portus Indico, which is a shareholder in Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), the concessionaire for the Maputo port. The other shareholder is Caminhos de Ferro de Mozambique (Mozambique Railways). 
In January, Mozambique’s Council of Ministers extended the port concession agreement from 2033 until 2058, with MPDC agreeing to invest US$2 billion in expansion activities.
The concession extension will upgrade the port’s capacity from 37 million to 54 million tonnes a year and calls for nearly US$1.1 billion in investments by 2033. The planned improvements include a major expansion of the Matola terminal and a quadrupling of shipping container capacity.
Grindrod’s financial results presentation says its Maputo port volumes grew by 28% to reach a record 12.6 million tonnes in the year ending December 2023. Overall, Maputo  port handled a record 31.2 million tonnes of cargo in 2023, an increase of more than 16% compared to 2022, according to an MPDC announcement in January.
Photo: Port of Maputo (Source: Grindrod)


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