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            may 24, 2019

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Upgrades enable Congo's ICTSI terminal to handle 2,500 TEU ships


The Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), part of the ICTSI group and located in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has received the 2,500-TEU Safmarine Nuba, its largest containership to date, according to Shipping Gazette.
Deployment of a vessel of this size unlocks economies of scale as well as provides a cost-efficient means to serve the capital city of Kinshasa given that use of any other port gateway entails substantial additional land transport costs "dramatically pushing up the overall container transport cost from point of origin to destination," a statement from the terminal operator said.
The transit along the Congo River is also time competitive - it takes just eight hours from the Banana Roads, at the head of the Congo River, upstream to Matadi, compared to five hours by road when optimum conditions are available.
"If you start your overland journey from points such as Banana or Pointe Noire the additional overland transport costs, compared to using Matadi, will work out to be more expensive than the entire sea-freight cost from Shanghai to Matadi," said ICTSI senior vice president Hans-Ole Madsen.
"We are also working with the relevant authorities to enhance the rail link between Matadi and Kinshasa, the only direct uninterrupted rail link between a port gateway and the capital city. Matadi is by far the logical choice," he added.
MGT, with support from the government of DRC, has a two-step plan in place to realise dredging in the Congo River up to a draught of 12.5 metres, thereby opening the door to Panamax class vessel calls. This will be demand triggered as will a third phase, under development, which will facilitate access for the slightly larger WAFMAX vessels, which will require a draught of 14 metres.
"The MGT is built to handle vessels of up to WAFMAX dimensions and as such the Safmarine Nuba was straightforward to berth and work," explains MGT director general Tim Van Campen. "We see this as a step on the road to handling even bigger vessels as demand builds, eventually up to WAFMAX dimensions from direct calls."
Handling over the quay at MGT is undertaken by two mobile harbour cranes, each able to handle up to 60 tons when working with an automatic twin-lift spreader and 50 tons in a single lift. Maximum working radius is 51 metres. A third Kone mobile crane, now on order, will soon be installed, providing the ability to turn a 2,500-TEU vessel in under 12 hours.
Container clearance from the terminal is the most efficient in the DRC averaging seven days, half the time typically taken and thereby promoting further supply chain efficiencies. The advances made in this respect have also served to double the terminal's annual capacity from 175,000 TEU to 350,000 TEU.
The US$100 million Matadi Gateway Terminal that opened in mid-2016 is a joint venture company between ICTSI, The Leda Group and SCTP.

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