Neighbours invest US$10m in sugar sil

The silo was officially opened this week by Mozambique’s Minister of Transport Felicia Zacarias.

The sugar industries in the four countries are among the world’s lowest-cost producers of high-quality sugar.

Sociedade Terminal de A”car de Maputo, a company owned by the sugar associations, has a 23-year lease on the land on which the silo was built, with an additional seven-year option. At the end of the lease, ownership of the terminal would be ceded to the Mozambican government.

The fourth silo will increase the terminal’s storage capacity by 50 000 tonnes to 175 000 tonnes of sugar. The movement of sugar through the terminal could be doubled to one million tonnes a year.

Trix Trikam, Sasa’s executive director, said the silo’s construction was one of the practical ways of implementing the sugar co-operative agreement of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Imameleng Mothebe, the department of trade and industry’s director of agro-processing, said: “One of the co-operative issues has to do with building infrastructure to make the regional sugar industries more globally competitive.”

Quinton Hildebrand, Sasa’s international marketing director, said the association’s storage capacity would increase from 24 000 tonnes to 45 000 tonnes, which would make it possible to charter 35 000-tonne vessels instead of being limited to vessels of 20 000 tonnes.

“The stocks accumulated can be increased, allowing for larger, more cost-effective shipments. The increased storage capacity provides greater timing flexibility in marketing the sugar and contracting freight, improving financial returns,” Hildebrand noted.

Another advantage was that each country would now have its own warehouse, so that space within the silos would not be lost to dividers separating the sugar supplied by the different countries.

“This was necessary as many destinations only import sugar from a specific country,” Hildebrand said. With output of four million tonnes a year, 40 percent of which is exported, the sugar sectors of Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe generate more than $500 million a year in foreign exchange.

Mothebe said the construction of the silo was a significant step for regional integration, the purpose of the SADC.

“We are developing a sugar strategy at SADC level which will feed into the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) strategies,” she added.

Mozambican officials said the Maputo port would be a regional competitor to Durban by 2008, as the government looked to ramp up investment in infrastructure.

“We must take advantage of our position next to Zimbabwe and Malawi; we have infrastructure closer than Durban,” said Transport Minister Antonio Munguambe. ‘ Business Report.

September 2006
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