Mozambique’s Mocimboa da Praia Port Resumes Operations

Mozambique reopens key port
(file photo)

Published Nov 30, 2022 3:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

After nearly two years of closure, Mozambique’s Mocimboa da Praia port re-opened this week, signaling a return of normalcy in the conflict-ridden Cabo Delgado province. A little over a  year ago the insurgents were driven from the town which was considered to be one of their last strongholds. Restoring the port comes at a critical time as Mozambique works to become an exporter for LNG.

The port re-opening was officiated by the Governor of Cabo Delgado Valige Taubo, with Mozambique’s TotalEnergies CEO Maxime Rabilloud also present. Governor Taubo said that the resumption of operations at the port was as a result of the restoration of security in the Cabo Delgado region.

During the re-opening ceremony on Tuesday, a cargo ship belonging to Mozambique LNG project, which is operated by TotalEnergies, arrived at the port. The vessel was carrying fuels, cars and other equipment for companies operating in the gas hub of Palma town, approximately 50 miles north of Mocimboa da Praia port.

Located south of the Afungi Peninsula, the epicenter of Mozambique’s multibillion-dollar gas wealth, Mocimboa da Praia port is a critical link in the development of onshore LNG infrastructure in the area. TotalEnergies use the port for cargo deliveries to the Afungi site.

The port town of Mocimboa da Praia fell to radicals affiliated to Islamic State in 2020. It was re-captured last year following a successful counter-insurgency operation between Mozambican and Rwandan forces.

Recently, Mozambique Ports and Railways Authority (CFM) announced it would rehabilitate the port infrastructure at Mocimboa. It estimated the rehabilitation of the state infrastructure in at least seven districts affected by the armed conflict in Cabo Delgado would cost around $9 million. Most of this amount will be expended in Mocimboa da Praia, the most affected area by the violence.

However, even as the port re-opens, security alertness remain elevated in Cabo Delgado. Sporadic attacks have been experienced in recent months, especially in August and September.

The re-opening of Mocimboa da Praia port comes within weeks after Mozambique exported its first cargo of LNG to Europe. The gas was sourced from the Coral Sul offshore site in the Rovuma Basin.