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Matadi Gateway Terminal, ICTSI’s subsidiary in DR Congo.

ICTSI to more than double container capacity in DR Congo

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has earmarked more than USD100-million for the second phase expansion of its Congolese subsidiary, Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Expected to commence by 2020, MGT’s second phase development represents ICTSI’s efforts to strengthen Matadi’s position as DRC’s most efficient and cost-competitive gateway, and promote even lower shipping rates in the region.

Among the upgrades are the expansion of the quay from 375 meters to over 500 meters, and the doubling of the terminal’s yard area to 10.5 hectares. When completed, MGT will be capable of simultaneously servicing two WAFMAX class vessels. The expansion grants the terminal substantial flexibility to optimize container capacity, stacking, and clearance/drop-off arrangements.

On the equipment side, a third Kone mobile harbor crane–now on order–will soon be installed to provide the ability to turn a 2,500-TEU capacity vessel in under 12 hours. In the pipeline are DR Congo’s first pair of ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes, expected to optimize vessel turnaround times; new landside yard handling equipment; and the latest IT systems for optimized terminal operations.

Located 92 miles upstream of the Congo River, Matadi has the natural advantage of being the closest port to the capital Kinshasa, offering the lowest inland transport cost that greatly benefit cargo owners.

ICTSI is working with relevant authorities to enhance the rail service between Matadi and Kinshasa, the only direct rail link in the country between a seaport gateway and the capital city. Also, in partnership with the Société Congolaise des Transports et des Ports (SCTP), new rolling equipment will be introduced to enhance MGT’s market position.

With the support from the DRC government, a two-step plan is underway to dredge the Congo River to a deeper draft of 12.5 meters, which will allow access to Panamax-class vessels. In the pipeline, a third phase development of MGT will allow access for the larger WAFMAX vessels, which will require a draft of 14 meters.

Hans Ole Madsen, ICTSI Senior Vice President and Regional Head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa said: “The expansion of MGT is aligned with actual and projected container growth rates for the DRC, and corresponds with cargo owner and shipping line requirements for the medium term.”

He adds: “The market is seeing positive growth albeit off a relatively low base in terms of total demand.  Studies suggest that DRC will achieve emerging market country status within the next 10 years and as such, we are very confident that this nearly US$100-million expansion plan anticipates the market’s requirements over this period and will deliver unrivaled efficiencies.”

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