Local news:

2018/ 2019, an eventful year for APT

The Annual General Meeting of the Professional Association of Freight Forwarders (Association Professionnelle des Transitaires) held in the offices of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led to the election of a new Executive Committee.

In his speech, the outgoing president, Gupta Gopaul covered the achievements of the association during the period running from March 2018 to March 2019.

He seized this opportunity to keep members of the association abreast of the difficulties and challenges faced to safeguard the overall interests of the freight clearing and forwarding agents in the rapidly evolving logistics world.

“We have also strived hard to maintain a favorable business environment where all of us could nurture while strictly complying to the provisions of the Competition Act”, he stated and acknowledged that “despite the fact that we may not have achieved everything that was expected by all our members, the foundations that we have laid and the momentum imparted, will contribute to a brighter future for all.”

The year 2018 started with a very unfortunate affair pertaining to the Freight and Logistics contract of a company. “Fortunately, we succeeded with the support of a great lawyer to clear our name and avoid any court case with the risk of financial claims.”

Later, the case the Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) entered against Freight Forwarders was successfully fought.

“Initially, we provided the CCM with all the details they required to prove our economic justification. However, they were sill not satisfied and planned to fine each member an amount equivalent to 10% of its turnover. We contacted a reputed commercial lawyer and requested him to liaise with the CCM".

He stated that the CCM would not accept any arrangement or understanding and that he would have to make a request for full investigation. His legal fees would have cost us about Rs 1.2 million. The Executive Committee of the APT united its forces so as to find a solution to this common problem”, detailed out Gupta Gopaul.

“We got in touch with another young lawyer. With his support, we finally succeeded to convince the CCM of our genuineness and they accepted an undertaking from us.”

“As evidenced by these two cases, APT not only upholds the interests of the freight clearing and forwarding agents of Mauritius but also contributes in a decisive manner to the its economic growth.”

The former president of APT added that during his mandate, the association had actively participated in different forums to support the Government in facilitating business and international trade.

Moreover, concerning MACCS, he pointed out that APT had successfully managed to be considered as a Director of this organisation instead being a passive observer. “The association is deriving a monthly board fee of MUR 10K. Moreover, following the recent reduction in share capital and payment of dividends, we have received MUR 50 K as dividends and MUR 598 K for the purchase of shares and capital reduction.”

In his concluding remarks, Gupta Gopaul announced that the ties between APT and FIATA are being reinforced. “We are also evaluating the possibility of organising its international conference, RAME 2020 in Mauritius”, he proudly told the audience of APT’s Annual General Meeting.

Posted by: Editor on Monday, 30th Sep 2019

Royal Haskoning DHV has submitted its feasibility study to MPA

The firm of consultants Royal Haskoning DHV has submitted its feasibility study pertaining to 3 major development projects to the Board of Directors of the Mauritius Ports Authority.

These projects pertain to the construction of a container terminal on an artificial island in the port area, the installation of wave breakers and the deepening of the channel taken by vessels to berth at the Mauritius Container Terminal where the 5 post-Panamax gantry cranes are located.

The consultants in their report, have come to the conclusion after evaluating the financial implications especially the investments required and the expected returns, that the projects would be profitable and sustainable.

The report of Royal Haskoning DHV has been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) for further consideration.

If the approval for the implementation of the projects is obtained by the MPA, the container handling capacity of Port Louis will reach 2.5 million 20 feet containers a year instead of 1 million for the time being.

Furthermore, based on an extrapolation of the growth in container traffic at Port Louis, the consultants foresee that by year 2022, our port will reach the limits of its handling capacity and may lead to congestions.

Furthermore, the port development makes provision to increase the depth of the channel from 16.5 meters now to 18 meters so that bigger container-carrying vessels can berth at Port Louis.

The sand and soil recovered during the dredging works will be used to create an artificial island of 60 hectares for container storage and with a quay extending over 1 200 meters

This artificial island will be connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Finally, the development projects comprise the installation of wave breakers in front of the harbor to avoid vessels from having to move away from the harbor in times of big swells.

Posted by: Editor on Friday, 1st Mar 2019

Improving productivity at the Mauritius Container Terminal

The international firm of engineering and project management consultants, Royal HaskoningDHV (whose headquarters are located in the Netherlands) is preparing for the Mauritius Ports Authority, the updated Ports Master Plan for Port Louis and the other locations around our island.

According to Royal HaskoningDHV, the productivity at the Mauritius Container Terminal has “improved only marginally in the last 10 years”.

Increasing the number of movements per hour of the travelling gantry cranes that load and unload containers from vessels calling at the container terminal, is of critical importance for Port Louis harbour.

Not only to maintain the competitiveness of port operations but also, in order to face the infrastructural transformations that are currently being undertaken by Port Reunion and the expansion of the Port of Tamatave in Madagascar with a total investment of 639 million US dollars.

Furthermore, the Port of Tamatave may in the future represent a substitute and hence a direct threat to the transhipment of containers at Port Louis especially if the productivity in Madagascar turns out to be higher.

Among the recommendations formulated by Royal HaskoningDHV in view of boosting the productivity at Port Louis: Increased berth productivity through the improved deployment of the 2 Super Post Panamax and 5 Post-Panamax Rail Mounted Gantry cranes, Investment in improved handling equipment and IT systems, Training to improve the use of IT and the flexibility of the labour force to cover multiple roles, Attracting a wider customer base and / or dedicated long term contracts…

The consultants of Royal HaskoningDHV conclude that “the easiest way to bring these changes about would be to get one of the major international port groups involved in the operation of the terminal”.

It is worth noting that the terminal operator of the Port of Tamatave, the Madagascar International Container Terminal Services Ltd. (MICTSL) is a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) from the Philippines.

The private company MICTSL is involved in the operation, management, financing, rehabilitation and development of the container terminal at the Port of Tamatave on a public-private partnership basis.

Posted by: Editor on Tuesday, 29th Jan 2019

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