Dredging works to increase capacity of Maputo Port

Deepening of channel to allow access to 85,000-tonne ships.

The port of Maputo will be able to receive ships of up to 85,000 tonnes from February 2017, once the ongoing dredging works are completed, according to the port's management firm Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC).

The works are being carried out to deepen the port's access channel to a depth of 14.2m at high tide, an increase of 3m from its current depth.

The Belgian dredging company Jan de Nul began the works in May and the project is expected to cost around $100 million, financed by several partners including the Mozambican government.

The MPDC says the dredging works will allow the port to reach its target of handling 40 million tonnes of cargo annually by 2035.

This is the second dredging of the access channel, which was deepened from 9.4m to 11m in 2010, enabling the port to increase its cargo traffic from 12 million tonnes in 2011 to 19 million tonnes today.