South Africa’s mining sector, grappling with substantial revenue losses due to logistical bottlenecks, may soon find a swifter route to Mozambican ports.
The Logistics Co. (TLC), indirectly owned by Old Mutual’s African Infrastructure Investment Managers, is set to unveil an exclusive trucks-only crossing at Komatipoort, located just north of South Africa’s primary Lebombo entry point into Mozambique.
The ambitious project involves an extensive overhaul of an existing service road running parallel to a railway line.
Additionally, TLC will construct a dedicated truck staging facility, complete with customs and immigration offices, situated on the outskirts of Komatipoort.
Hennie Jooste, head of operations at TLC, shed light on these plans.
TLC, which already operates a rail terminal on the Mozambican side of the border, envisions processing up to 500 trucks daily at the upcoming crossing.
This development could significantly ease the burden on the existing border post, where an average of 1,800 trucks arrive daily, often resulting in queues stretching over 30 kilometers, Jooste stated.
The foremost objective for TLC is accommodating the 200 to 250 trucks they operate, carrying magnetite, a specific type of iron ore, into Mozambique.
These trucks will discharge their cargo at the rail terminal and return empty through the existing border.
Subsequently, the minerals will be transported via train to the ports in Maputo Bay.
In recent times, South African producers of magnetite, chrome, and coal have increasingly relied on the N4 highway through the Lebombo border to export their minerals via the ports of Maputo and Matola, as their domestic rail and port infrastructure faced challenges.
In contrast, Mozambique has been steadily expanding its port and rail capacity.
TLC has set its sights on commencing construction around mid-October, with an estimated completion date in May 2024.
The project is anticipated to cost approximately R50 million, according to Jooste.
This initiative represents a significant step towards streamlining logistics for South Africa’s mining sector and enhancing trade connectivity with Mozambique’s burgeoning ports and rail networks.
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