The Port of Beira’s ascendancy as a burgeoning alternative for southern east-coast African freight, while the Port of Durban continues to battle systemic capacity and congestion issues, is under threat because of Mozambique’s recently introduced in-transit cargo sealing system.
Not for the first time in recent weeks have transporters, particularly bulk fuel hauliers supplying landlocked countries west of Mozambique, complained of massive snags in the system.
Commenting on recent charges that the number of seals, human resource ability and availability, and supporting point-to-point efficiencies were not in place and that transporters were bearing the brunt of inadequate implementation of the system, Mozambique electronic cargo tracking services claimed they were fully capable of meeting the system’s requirements.
And yet Beira is getting blocked up because the port simply cannot handle the number of trucks coming through that require sealing.
This morning a liquid haulier operating on the Beira Corridor through Zimbabwe into the Copperbelt said there were about 2000 trucks stuck in Beira while the fuel terminals were only managing five to ten trucks a day.
Prior to the introduction of the sealing system, the port had been handling 100 trucks a day, said the haulier whose name and company affiliation are known to Freight News.
“Seals are a massive factor in delaying trucks,” he said.
Inbound vessels have no space to offload and are anchored at sea while with the inevitable effect of passing on demurrage costs down the line.
He warned that fuel at delivery points in Malawi, Zambia, the DRC and even Mozambique were running low, and penalties would be charged for late delivery.
Meanwhile, Mozambique’s ports and railway company, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), has placed a limit of 20 trucks allowed into the port, which means that only those in the port can be offloaded and released before any more can come in.
The haulier said CFM wanted the port area empty. “As you can appreciate, it’s a hazardous situation with all the trucks parked on the roads and open areas, thus everyone must park outside the port or in the terminal areas,” he said.
“Not every terminal has a large parking area and by only allowing 20 trucks a day, you cannot get loaded and get the next batch of 20 trucks in. So instead of loading 100 trucks, you now do 20 in a day. If there is a problem then fine, take steps to resolve, but why always at the expense of the transporter? Anyone heard of 'efficiencies?”