In July 2017 CFM offered a tender for Mozambique’s port and railway company for the emergency dredging of the port. The contract was awarded four months later in November 2017 to Van Oord the dredging and marine contractor headquartered in the Netherlands. The contract for the emergency dredging works in the Port of Beira is reportedly 25 million euros (about US$29.3 million).
The Port of Beira in Mozambique is located on the Mozambique Channel an arm of the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Pungwe River. It is the second largest port in Mozambique and is situated about 1200 kilometers (745 miles) north of Maputo the capital city. The access channel is 17 nautical miles long and because the port is tidal it is subject to constant silting and shifting of underwater sandbanks. This means that dredging is required on a regular basis. The multi-purpose and container terminal is one of the most modern in southern Africa and handles cargo tankers and passenger vessels.
The dredging works have started with trailing suction hopper dredge Volvox Atalanta working to bring the access channel to its original width and depth supported by water injection dredge Sagar Manthan for bed-levelling operations. The channel will be widened to 135 meters (443 feet) with a depth of 8 meters (26 feet) in the straight parts and widened to 250 meters (820 feet) and dredged down to a depth 9.20 meters (30 feet) in the curved section at an area known as Macut. The work is expected to take six months.
Once the dredging work is completed the port should be able to accommodate Panamax ships of up to 60000 gross tons. Because of siltation the port has become restricted to vessels of not more than 30000 gross ton. Beira has a long history dating back to the Portuguese as a vital transportation link to the African hinterlands and it continues to service the land-locked countries of Malawi Democratic Republic of Congo Zambia and Zimbabwe.