Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Modernization of Lobito port right on schedule

Updated: 2011-09-16 08:03
( China Daily)

 Modernization of Lobito port right on schedule

Significant investments mean the port of Lobito will be more competitive regionally and nationally. Photos Provided to China Daily

Modernization of Lobito port right on schedule

Lobito port is rapidly becoming a catalyst for economic growth and development for the entire region, and is looking to help Benguela province return to its glory days as an industrial power.

Thanks to the nearly completed Benguela Railways (Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela) and a local cement factory, along with the port modernization program, its industries are beginning to flourish.

The modernization project is a top-dollar item, with more than $1 billion already spent on docks and terminals.

In commenting on the renovation, the port's chairman, Anapaz Neto, said, "We're already seeing improvements and reaping the benefits. We'll soon be able to dock 12 to 15 ships at once."

That will be double the current capacity of six to eight vessels.

The overall plans are big: increasing the port capacity, from 2 million tons a year to 11 million tons, a 700,000-container working capacity. By 2010, the handling capacity was already up 10 percent.

The port is not aiming to outshine the major port in the country at Luanda, but it is all part of a national plan to improve the maritime infrastructure to boost growth by lowering the costs for importers and exporters.

"In fact, we're not competing with the port of Luanda. In a way, we're working with them. As we create more capacity here, we help alleviate the overcrowding in Luanda. That's all part of the national economic plan," Neto explained.

The port modernization plan covers three main areas: improving productivity, replacing worn-out equipment, and providing training for employees.

And, it does not stop with the external improvements that Neto referred to. Another plan calls for alleviating the excessive amount of bureaucratic involvement that characterized the import process in the past.

"My idea is to be a one-stop agent so that, when a boat arrives, everything can be taken care of in that one place. This is something we must do to make us competitive," he added.

The port celebrated its 83rd year as a separate, independent entity from the Benguela Railways company earlier this year, and is proud to show how the modernization process is on schedule.

Work on a 500-meter-long, 300-meter-wide loading and unloading terminal for minerals is underway, along with a dry dock, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Several parts of the expansion and modernization project have been finished. Most important, there is the paving, lighting, and a new railway line to carry cargo in and out of the port. One with more far-reaching effects is the VTS building, which will house an information and location system to track ships moving about in the Lobito area.

Neto said that the port management can take credit for its leadership in the modernization effort. But, he is quick to point out, the speed and efficiency at which it is being carried out are thanks to the China Harbour Engineering Co which is in charge of the work.

They deserve praise, Neto said, and, "They meet deadlines, and do the work on time and very efficiently."

(China Daily 09/16/2011 page27)

Hot Topics