New Mozambican shipping company focuses on distributing Chinese products

10 March 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 10 March – A new shipping company, owned by Mozambican and South African investors was launched at the beginning of March in Mozambique to service the region’s markets as well as distributing Chinese products to neighboring countries, officials have said.

The new company, Krew Moz Star Shipping, is the result of a partnership between South Africa’s Krew Marine and Moz Star, a Mozambican marine services company, and aims to make use of Mozambique’s coast as a port of entry to neighboring countries.

Through it three main corridors, Maputo, Beira and Nacala, Mozambique provides access to interior regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi, as well as other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Tony Ruiters, director of Krew Marine, Mozambique is already an important corridor for Chinese products to reach Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa.

“China is a powerhouse that in future will beat everything and everyone and we want to work with Chinese exporters,” the president of Krew Moz Star Shipping, Kjeld Klitgaard Olsen told Macauhub.

The new company will benefit from Moz Star’s experience in logistic support for the construction of Mozambique’s new Foreign and Cooperation Ministry and the Joaquim Chissano Conference Center, buildings gifted by China to the Maputo government.

In the first stages, Krew Moz Star Shipping will provide services to ships that stop off in Mozambique’s ports and will be a door-to-door distributor.

“There is a lack of good services, as we only have one shipping company on the coast. Every day trucks leave Maputo for Pemba, which is about 3,000 kilometers away, driving along terrible roads,” Olsen said, saying that the company could change that situation.

“Sodas, beer, school books should be sent by sea along the coast, even to Beira,” he said, mentioning the country’s second city, 1,200 kilometers from Maputo.

The company is present in Mozambique’s principal ports – Maputo, Beira, Quelimane, Nacala, Pemba and Mocímboa da Praia – and has already made changes to shrimp exports from fish farms in Zambézia province, through the use of refrigerated containers.

Up until now, the shrimp was stored in Quelimane, the capital of Zambézia, waiting for a sufficient amount to be gathered to fill a refrigerated ship, a process which could take up to three months.

According to Olsen one of the main obstacles that needs to be overcome in the shipping business in the region is heavy taxation at ports, which makes it difficult for companies in Mozambique to compete with South African ports.

“These days it is cheaper to send a container from Durban (South Africa) to China than from Maputo to Quelimane,” Olsen explained, estimating that its cost around US$750 per month to store a 25-foot container at a Mozambican port.

“Those costs need to be reduced in order to take goods off the roads and put them on ships,” he said. (macauhub)