Local news:

A ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ awarded by the World Bank to APT

The World Bank has just published its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report for 2019 and the ‘Professional Association of Freight Forwarders’ of Mauritius’ (In French, APT_ Association Professionnelle des Transitaires) has received a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ from the World Bank for its contribution in providing valuable inputs about Mauritius pertaining to trade across borders.

Overall, our country is ranked 20th among the 190 countries on the ease of doing business, one place better than last year.

However, concerning the critical aspect of ‘Trade across borders’, our country holds the 69th place.

“There is room for improvement”, points out Gupta Gopaul, the Chairman of the ‘Professional Association of Freight Forwarders of Mauritius’ (APT) although the World Bank has noted that border compliance time has been reduced by 14 hours, making exporting easier through the introduction of a risk-based management system.

The Chairman of the ‘Professional Association of Freight Forwarders’ of Mauritius recommends that an awareness campaign be initiated across all levels of Customs officers on the importance of facilitating the movement of inbound and outbound goods. He also suggests that instead of ad hoc meetings between MRA Customs and the logistic companies, regular ones be organised to rapidly address any issue or to look jointly for corrective actions or improvements.

The survey carried out by the World Bank indicates that on average, for export, documentary compliance in Mauritius takes around 9 hours while border compliance requires 24 hours.

Furthermore, the cost to export from our country is quite high with documentary compliance amounting to US $ 128 and US $ 303 for border compliance.

On the import side, 41 hours are needed for border compliance leading to a cost of US $ 372.

It is also worth noting that since a couple of months, the chairmanship of the ‘Ease of doing business‘ platform of Mauritius has been shifted from the Economic Development Board to the Director of Customs, Mr V. Ramburun.

Posted by: Editor on Thursday, 3rd Jan 2019

Technical and economic feasibility of the Island Container Terminal

A technical and economic feasibility study on the construction of an Island Container Terminal coupled with a breakwater structure at Port Louis, is currently being undertaken by consultants of the African Development Bank Group. The recommendations might be submitted by the end of this year.

The Mauritius Ports Authority has commissioned the study which will assess the scope of the breakwater project, the cost of construction of the structure of the proposed breakwater and establish if the investment will be commensurate with the cost of the assets/infrastructure and the proposed development (extension of container terminal).

The study will also cover Engineering Investigations (topographic,geotechnical, bathymetric, water quality, ecosystem and water level surveys); Preliminary design of facilities (breakwater, quay wall, slope protection, soil improvement technique if needed, pavement of yard, terminal road, and access bridge); Physical modelling test; Revision of the preliminary design; Cost estimates for the Island Container Terminal; Economic and financial analysis as well as preliminary assessment of Environmental and Social Impacts.

Container traffic through Port Louis will grow especially after year 2025.
Projections undertaken by Royal Haskoning DHV, an international engineering, design and project management consultancy group headquartered in the Netherlands, show that in year 2025, the total movement of containers may attain 1 033 000 TEUs including 354 000 TEUs for the captive local market and 679 000 TEUs of transhipped boxes.

The transhipment traffic through Mauritius is expected to rise in year 2040 to 1 383 000 TEUs while the containers destined to or originating from our country, may reach 560 000 TEUs.

In case the project is rolled out, the Island Container Terminal will be built with reclaimed land opposite the existing Mauritius Container Terminal (MCT) where the five post panamax gantry cranes are located.

Posted by: Editor on Wednesday, 5th Dec 2018

The future developments of Port Louis harbour

The berth length at the Mauritius Container Terminal is currently being expanded to 800 metres to accommodate at the same time two vessels with a capacity of 8 000 to 10 000 TEUs each.

The next phase of the development of our port will be the expansion of the inland terminal to increase the container storage space. Furthermore, the construction of customs and security facilities, offices and a parking area for trucks, is also planned

In the long term, the land use at the port will have to be optimised, especially to reap the benefits of the total length available of 960 m of berth at the Mauritius Container Terminal.

Consultants have also recommended the setting up of a new terminal on an artificial island made from reclaimed land that will contribute to protect the Mauritius Container Terminal from high waves during the bad weather.

However, the Government and the Mauritius Ports Authority if they do not to incur the initial heavy investments in an island terminal, can opt for the upgrading of Quays 3 and 4 into a dedicated container terminal with the use of rail mounted container cranes.

Dredging works will then have to be undertaken but one of the main weaknesses of this option will be the turning area. This would limit the size of container vessels to be handled.

It is to be pointed out that the Ports Act of 1998 requires the Mauritius Port Authority to prepare and periodically update a Port Master Plan. The international consulting firm, Royal Haskoning DHV, has just drafted a new Port Master Plan covering up to horizon 2040.

The consultants have taken into consideration the opportunities arising from the Ocean Economy initiative and the increased contribution of the maritime sector. They have also made a study on the development of a Petroleum Hub at Albion, a few kilometres away from the port.

Posted by: Editor on Monday, 29th Oct 2018

Latest developments in the aviation field

The Italian air carrier Alitalia will start again its direct flights to Mauritius as from the 26th October 2018.

Three flights are planned each week. Alitalia’s Airbus A 330 will take off on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights from Fumiciano airport in Roma and land in Mauritius the next day.

On its part, the national carrier, Air Mauritius will launch two flights per week between Mauritius and Thailand as from the 31st October. An Airbus A330-200 and its new Airbus 330-900 neo plane will be dedicated to this route.

The flight departing on Saturdays from Mauritius will be a direct one while the second flight, scheduled on Wednesdays, will make a stop-over in Singapore.

In 2017, air freight traffic increased by nearly 18% from year to year, attaining almost 61 000 tonnes for both inbound and outbound cargo. The freight to and from Mauritius, is manly transported in the belly of passenger planes.

Moreover, according to official statistics from Air Mauritius, during the financial year 2017/ 18, cargo operations witnessed a solid growth rate of 12.8%.

Improved efficiency will be achieved in the years to come with the renewal of Air Mauritius fleet. Two Airbus A350 planes are in operation since October of last year and two Airbus A330neo will be in service before the end of this year while next year, two Airbus A350-900 will be joining the fleet and two more in 2023.

Posted by: Editor on Monday, 24th Sep 2018