JSE-listed Grindrod and its partners continue to build on its core freight management competence in improving and unlocking trade corridors.
This is evident in the recent improvement in the efficiency achieved at the Port of Maputo. Among other factors, the improvement is attributed to three major interventions which Grindrod is proud to be associated with.
First is the Maputo channel dredge (port deepening) completed by the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) in January last year, at a total cost of $85-million, which allowed the largest post Panamax vessel to set sail from Maputo in June 2018 with 100 674 DWT – a record for this port. Total MPDC port volumes achieved in 2017 increased by 22%, compared with 2016.
Further investment in freight handling equipment to facilitate the more efficient loading of these type of vessels, at a cost of $25-million, will be complete in the second quarter of 2019.
Second is the berth deepening and quay offset project at Grindrod’s Matola Coal Terminal (TCM), which now allows fully laden Panamax vessels to berth at TCM. In recognition of the berth deepening project at TCM, on October 12, Grindrod, as the client, and its appointed consulting engineers PRDW Africa and contractor Subtech Group Limited, jointly received a South African Institute of Civil Engineering award in the category of most outstanding civil engineering project (railway and harbour engineering), while being highly commended in the category of outstanding international project.
The third intervention is the collaboration between key business partners Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Mozambique Ports and Railways (CFM) and MPDC, which allowed TCM to increase coal volumes by 36%. This significant increase came on the back of improved information sharing, continuous planning and commitments made in support of each of the parties’ business models. The result is an improvement of 25% (to 50 wagons per train) on the coal rail line and a 7% increase on the magnetite rail line. In September this year, the first 80-wagon train (a further 60% improvement on the existing coal line) was successfully tested through the Maputo corridor.
These achievements contributed to TFR receiving a prestigious Platinum award for the Maputo Corridor at the Annual Logistics Achiever Awards on October 14, 2018. The award gives top honours for: ‘Expanding South Africa’s international global route-to-market and capacity’.
“I am extremely proud of what our logistics partners and Grindrod, in particular the Maputo teams, have done to unlock this corridor and provide an efficient solution to our customers. This not only involved the collaboration between TFR, CFM, MPDC and Grindrod, but also included the employment and on-boarding of 477 new (Mozambique nationals) employees and some 7 000-plus hours of training. To be associated with such prestigious awards in the process, confirms our strategic intent and human capital potential,” comments Grindrod Limited CEO Andrew Waller.
Meanwhile, last month, Engineering News reported that Grindrod announced its acquisition of the Novagroup from Spanish shipping company Pescanova will enhance its service and product offering, as well as expand its footprint in Southern Africa.
Nova was established in the 1960s to deliver support services to the maritime industry, and has grown to be one of the leading providers of marine and aviation rescue and survival equipment, container storage, shipwright, depots, bespoke engineering and support services.
In its announcement, Grindrod stated that services provided by Nova dovetailed with Grindrod existing businesses, specifically the provision of marine and aviation rescue and survival equipment and Nova’s United Container Depot (UCD) business. These businesses complement Sturrock Grindrod Marine Tech (SGMT) and Grindrod Intermodal, respectively.
“The intention is to strengthen our position in the niche marine technical market,” says Sturrock Grindrod Maritime CEO Andrew Sturrock.
“This acquisition will enable us to leverage off the respective sales and servicing agreements of both SGMT and Nova, with a view to enhance our already impressive range of services and to increase our comprehensive product offering to the marine and shore-based industries we serve.”
In addition to providing a more comprehensive product offering, the integration of Nova’s businesses will introduce further complementary services to SGMT’s customer base.
Newly appointed Grindrod Intermodal CEO Mahmood Simjee commented that the group would be able to provide solutions to shipping lines from a wider footprint in Southern Africa.
Grindrod Intermodal currently has warehousing and depot facilities in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Mozambique with a total area of 411 600 m2 and a throughput of 350 000 twenty-foot equivalent units a year. The integration of UCD will provide further depot facilities in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth totalling an area of 78 000 m2.
“We have advised that we are looking to ‘scale up’ our businesses. It is important that these acquisitions support our existing core expertise and that they contribute to unlocking trade corridors for our valued customers. This acquisition of a good footprint, agencies and people will do exactly that,” notes Waller.