In the spring of 2020, Svitzer took an important step towards strengthening its presence in Africa by signing a five-year contract with Nacala Logistics in Mozambique. Read on to learn more from Rui Dos Santos, Country Manager in Mozambique, about what it takes to begin operations in a new country.
In Mozambique, Svitzer provides harbor towage for Nacala Logistics (CLN) at the port of Nacala, servicing the recently built (2016) coal terminal and the main port at Nacala Porto. The operation started on the 1st of September 2020 with the two tugs Svitzer Nampula and Svitzer Nacala and when the recruitment of crew and onshore staff is completed, Svitzer in Mozambique will employ 26 in total.
Rui Dos Santos, Country Manager for Svitzer in Mozambique explains how setting up operations in a new country is both an exciting and challenging task:
“In a country where setting up formalities and processes takes time, COVID-19 has made things a bit frustrating at times. The biggest challenge however has proved to be setting up operations and living up to the commitments to the customer, whilst ensuring all standards are maintained and that basic operational processes such as supplying stores onboard, arranging inspections and surveys, planning crew changes etc. are functioning. But the team has worked hard to overcome these challenges and ensure a smooth transfer of services and start to the operation in Nacala.”
Rui Dos Santos has many years of experience from the maritime industry and having worked in Mozambique for the past six years, he has learned to be prepared for the unexpected, as he explains:
“There is no doubt that having an in-dept knowledge of the country has been an advantage – I knew from the beginning what the challenges would be and also how to deal with them, although the COVID-19 made many things a bit more challenging – like mobilizing the tugs operating in Nacala.”
The two tugs operating in Nacala were mobilized from Svitzer’s operations in Sohar Port in Oman, where new tugs had been ordered. However, mobilizing the tugs was not without challenges due to COVID-19. With careful planning and support from the global head office in Copenhagen the Svitzer regional team made it happen. Two full sets of crews from Egypt were assembled and placed under quarantine for two weeks and upon arrival of the brand new 80TBP tug Svitzer Sohar in Port Said in Egypt, the crews signed onto the tug and left Egypt late on the evening of 26 April, joining the midnight convoy south through the Suez Canal. On arrival in Sohar Port, Oman the tug berthed next to the two Nacala tugs that had been prepared and completely sanitised for the crews. The crews then stepped across onto their new tugs and started preparing for their passage to Mozambique.
Svitzer Nampula and Svitzer Nacala safely arrived in Nacala in June and performed their first commercial job on 1 September.
“Providing a world class service to our costumer, CLN, growing together in Nacala, promoting and spreading our name throughout the region and work in every port and terminal in the country – that is my dream,” Rui Dos Santos ends.