Mauritius - Country Commercial Guide
Port Expansion and Bunkering
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As the country’s sole maritime gateway, the Port Louis harbor plays a vital role in the national economy.  It handles about 99.5 percent of the total volume of external trade, equivalent to approximately 8 million tons of cargo annually, and directly contributes two percent to Mauritius’s GDP.  The Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) regulates and controls the port sector and manages port infrastructure, related facilities, and equipment.  The Cargo Handling Corporation (CHC) Ltd. is responsible for the management of all port handling operations pertaining to containers and general cargo.

The government actively promotes the ocean economy and sees the port as a potential regional container transshipment hub.  Since commencing operations in 1999, the container terminal has experienced steady growth in container trade, as well as a moderate growth in transshipment trade.  In October 2017, the new container terminal, featuring an extended quay length of 800 meters and a dredged depth of 16.5 meters, was inaugurated.  As a result of the extension works, the capacity of the terminal increased from 550,000 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) to 800,000 TEUs.  Port Louis is now one of the deepest ports in the southwest Indian Ocean, capable of handling container vessels with a draft of about 15.0 meters and a capacity of 12,000 TEUs.

To cater for container traffic beyond 2040, MPA has proposed the development of an island container terminal with a capacity of 1.5 million TEUs.  The project would require a manmade island to be constructed just off the current container terminal.  The MPA also plans to construct a breakwater structure to create a tranquil basin at the container terminal.  The aim is to work towards a public-private partnership deal for both projects, which, as of 2019, had a combined value of approximately $835 million.  In August 2019, MPA published an information memorandum for potential investors and developers.  Five companies were shortlisted but there has been no progress since due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting impacts.  According to the MPA, a public-private partnership is preferred for implementation of the project, but the viability and cost would have to be reviewed due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

The MPA owns, operates, and maintains a fleet of 11 floating craft, comprising four tugs of 30 to 70 tons bollard pull capacity (one of which has been chartered), four tugs of 12 tons bollard pull capacity, and one pilot boat.  The MPA is responsible for the provision of pilotage and tug service to ensure safe and secure marine operations at the Port Louis harbor.  Port handling equipment is imported.  Five gantry cranes were supplied by South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, and most of the forklifts, lifts, and skip hoists were imported from China, the United States, and France.  In March 2016, the Cargo Handling Corporation issued an expression of interest for consultancy services for the procurement of two Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, six rubber-tire gantry cranes, and associated equipment, which were ultimately acquired from China in 2017.  The Cargo Handling Corporation has also recently upgraded the NAVIS operating system currently used for container handling and has invested heavily in security around the terminal.  In the 2019-2020 budget, the prime minister announced that the Cargo Handling Corporation would acquire one additional ship-to-shore crane, along with associated equipment, at the cost of $21.4 million.  This equipment was acquired from China in 2019.

The contract for the construction of a 7,500 square meter cruise ship terminal in the Port Louis harbor, valued at $21 million, was awarded in August 2019.  The new facility, which has a capacity of 4,000 passengers, would accommodate both cruise and the inter-island passenger traffic.  According to the MPA, the project, which has been delayed due to the pandemic, is due to be completed by February 2023 and operational by October 2023.






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(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Units: $ thousands
Source: i) Bank of Mauritius, ii) Statistics Mauritius, iii) Embassy Estimates

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Gantry cranes
  • Forklifts/trucks with handling equipment
  • Loading and unloading machinery
  • Onshore and offshore bunkering
  • Construction of an island container terminal and breakwater
  • Container terminal technology


Island Container Terminal and Breakwater Structure

The Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) has commissioned a techno-economic feasibility study on the construction of an island container terminal opposite the existing container terminal in order to cater for container traffic beyond 2025.  In 2018, port operations were stopped for a total of 24 days because of cyclones and swells at berth.  This caused losses amounting to about $68 million for the trading community.  The MPA looks to resolve this issue by constructing a breakwater structure.  The consultancy contract for the Preliminary Technical Study and Design of Island Terminal and Breakwater Structure at Port Louis was awarded to Royal HaskoningDHV at the price of 1,494,253 euros in October 2017.  The study was financed by a grant from the African Development Bank and was completed in January 2019.  The Techno-Economic Feasibility Study carried out by Royal HaskoningDHV confirmed the project’s feasibility.  According to the MPA, either the government or the MPA will finance the basic infrastructure, while the private developer will be responsible for constructing and equipping the berths, but viability and cost of the project would have to be reviewed due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

Construction of Petroleum Jetty and Supply of Bunker Fuel

Mauritius is strategically located on the east-west route in the Indian Ocean, linking Africa and Asia, as well as Pacific Ocean shipping reached via the southern route around South Africa.  This presents opportunities for offering bunkering services.  A significant liberalization of the Mauritian bunker market was undertaken in 2014, with government incentives provided through reduction and removal of charges and duties and an improved process for issuing of licenses and import permits.  Bunkering services are carried out year-round by seven local suppliers, namely:  Indian Oil (Mauritius) Ltd., Vivo Energy Mauritius Ltd., Total Mauritius Ltd., Engen (Mauritius) Ltd., Oceanis Bunkering Ltd., Peninsula Petroleum Mauritius, and Stonewin (Mauritius) Ltd.  Three grades of bunker fuel, namely GO 2500, FO 180, and FO 380, are currently available in Port Louis.  The MPA has allocated land in the port area to private developers for the construction of additional storage facilities, which will increase the storage capacity from its current level of 145,000 metric tons to over 200,000 metric tons.  Ship-to-ship bunkering is allowed solely within the port limits and at anchorage.  The following incentives are currently provided:  (i) exemption from excise duty and value-added tax on bunker fuel including for bunker barges operating with port limits; (ii) corporate tax exemption for bunker trade in IFO 380; and, (iii) exemption from environmental levy.

The government plans to develop Mauritius into a petroleum and bunkering hub, and it has been announced that a petroleum jetty will be built in the northwestern part of the island.  This will require the construction of tanks with a total storage capacity of 500,000 metric tons and a jetty of a total length of 600 meters with a draft of 20 meters.  The pre-feasibility study for this project has been completed but there has been no progress since.

New Information Technology Support Systems

The MPA is investing in new technologies aimed at enhancing port performance, including in a Single Maritime Window, to facilitate trade and achieve a reduction in waiting time for vessels.  The bidding exercise for the Single Maritime Window project was not successful and, at the time of writing of this report, the MPA was reviewing the scope of the project to reduce costs.


Mauritius Ports Authority

Economic Development Board – Ocean Economy