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Modernisation of the port

As the principal gateway of the country, the port plays a vital role in the national economy by handling about 99% of the total volume of the country’s external trade. Over the past two decades, the port has been transformed into an economic nerve centre, with modern port facilities, a dynamic Freeport, port-based facilities together with impressive waterfront development.

In the wake of the industrialisation of the country, Government came up with a plan to develop Port Louis Harbour to improve port facilities and services. The first phase of the port development comprised dredging and reclamation works, construction of deep-water quays, sheds, back-up open storage areas and a Container Park. Other related developments included the construction of a workshop for heavy equipment, fire station and a port administration building. An important fleet of cargo and container handling equipment was also acquired. The major part of these facilities was commissioned in 1979, while the Bulk Sugar Terminal became operational in 1980.

Thus the 1980-90 decade started with the transformation of our port from a lighterage port to a modern one with deep water alongside facilities for general cargo and container vessels together with the introduction of new operational handling systems. During that period, the focus was mainly on rationalization of cargo handling operations, the creation of the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd in 1983, the commissioning of a comprehensive Port Master Plan in 1985 and its subsequent updating in 1989 as a result of the country’s rapid economic growth. This decade witnessed the development of the Trou Fanfaron Fishing Port (1985 and 1990)

Attention continued to be focused on improving port operations efficiency and upgrading of marine facilities with the enlargement of the turning basin and acquisition of harbour and deep-sea tugs.

The 1990-2000 decade witnessed yet another major historical phase of port development culminating with the commissioning of a new container terminal - the Mauritius Container Terminal (MCT) in Mer Rouge. This crucial period marked the transformation of Port Louis Harbour into a modern gateway. Other principal achievements during the decade comprised:

  • Major dredging and reclamation works, with the creation of over 100 hectares of land at Mer Rouge and Les Salines, and the subsequent related revetment works.
  • The construction of freeport facilities.
  • Development of the Peninsula area with the reconstruction of Quays A, D and E.
  • Implementation of the Port Development and Environment Protection project with the overall objective of enhancing Mauritius’ transport and trade competitiveness in the maritime sector, in an environmentally sound manner.
  • The construction of a modern Container Terminal at Mer Rouge equipped with three post panamax quay cranes and ancillary facilities and their commissioning in 1999.
  • The construction of new road network and associated facilities to link the Mer Rouge area.
  • The reviewing and updating of the Ports Act 1975 leading in the promulgation of the new Ports Act 1998, and the change of name into the Mauritius Ports Authority.
  • Signature of concession contracts with the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd for the operation of all terminals.

During 2002-2008, Port Louis Harbour recorded unprecedented growth in transhipment traffic, following various agreements signed with major shipping consortiums using the port as a transhipment hub. With this surge in transhipment traffic, Port Louis soon started facing capacity shortages.

The MPA has consequently embarked on a series of development projects, with the objective of modernising port infrastructure and facilities and also adding the required capacity to meet the exigencies of the fast expanding maritime trade. These projects relate mainly to:

  • Expansion of the Container Yard of the MCT by an additional 6.4 ha which increase the storage capacity to 500,000 TEUs completed in 2004
  • Additional dredging works completed in December 2006 deepening the navigational channel and turning basin to a depth of 14.5 mts
  • Construction of a dedicated oil jetty in the English channel, for the unloading of petroleum tankers and LPG on a site segregated from normal port operations substantially completed in September 2008
  • Strengthening of security measures through a new fencing system, improved gate controls and installation of an appropriate CCTV surveillance system
  • Construction of a new Harbour Radio Station with modern radio/communication and vessels’ tracking system so as to provide a better maritime service and enhance navigational safety
  • Construction of cruise berthing facilities at Les Salines
  • The corrosion projection of steel piles at Port Louis and Port Mathurin
  • Finalisation of a new Port Master Plan in view of identifying opportunities and threats facing Port Louis Harbour and Port Mathurin as well as formulating land use and development plans to cater for the economic of the country over the next 20/25 years

The above projects will enable Port Louis Harbour to meet the challenges of transforming itself into a regional economic centre incorporating a number of services from port-related activities including cruise tourism, waterfront and recreational activities, seafood hub and freeport business. There are a number of prerequisites that need to be satisfied in order to make of Port Louis a dynamic, attractive and competitive destination. These prerequisites vary from equipping the port with excellent infrastructure, upgrading its services and promoting a high degree of competitiveness to achieve excellence in port operations and services.

Port Infrastructure & Logistics

Terminal I (including Trou Fanfaron Fishing Port)


Length (m)

Dredged Depth (m)

Type of Traffic Handled




Black oil, Edible oil, General cargo, Maize, Molasses, Soya Bean Meal, Wheat, Passengers and Inter-island trade







Black Oil, General cargo, Passengers and Inter-island trade

Trou Fanfaron I




Trou Fanfaron II 




Froid de Mascareignes (FDM)


3.0 – 9.5


Terminal II – Multi Purpose Terminal


Length (m)

Dredged Depth (m)

Type of Cargo Handled




Black Oil, Liquid Ammonia, Fertilizers, Tallow, White Oil,




Cement, Coal, Containers, General Cargo




Containers & General Cargo




Containers, General Cargo, LPG & Bitumen

Bulk Sugar Terminal (BST)



Bulk sugar, Black oil

Mauritius Freeport Development (MFD)




Terminal III – Mauritius Container Terminal


Length (m)

Dredged Depth (m)

Type of Cargo Handled




Containers, Bulk Ethanol





Oil Jetty

With a view to enhancing safety during unloading of petroleum tankers and LPG, MPA proceeded with the construction of an Oil Jetty at Mer Rouge. This dedicated facility, equipped with state of the art fire fighting equipment, will drastically reduce the current safety and security risks associated with the handling of petroleum products at various berths in the inner harbour. The Terminal is operational as from November 2008 and is able to accommodate tankers of up to 55,000 DWT.

New technologies introduced at the port

(a) Harbour Radio

The MPA has initiated action to ensure that maritime traffic is constantly under close monitoring by the new Harbour Radio, situated at the Capitainerie Building. The new Radio Station, which became operational in April 2008, is equipped with state-of-the-art port traffic surveillance with radars and modern radio/communication and vessels’ tracking system so as to provide an improved maritime service and enhanced navigational safety.

(b) CCTV surveillance system

MPA has also proceeded with the strengthening of security measures through a new perimeter fencing, improved gate controls and installation of a new CCTV camera surveillance system which became operational in April 2008. The port waters and the land area under the control of the Authority are now being closely and constantly scrutinised by trained Police and MPA officers operating from a centralised Surveillance Control Room on a 24 hour basis.

(c) ISO 9001: 2000

MPA was awarded the ISO 9001: 2000 for all its departments by the Mauritius Standards Bureau in November 2007. This award is a recognition of the Authority’s compliance with an internationally acceptable level of quality in all its business activities, including documentation, process, services and customer satisfaction.

MPA shall continue to improve the level and quality of the services offered to our clients and shall pursue the initiative to instill a culture of excellence throughout the organization. In this respect, we now intend to seek ISO 27001:2005 and ISO 14001:2004 accreditation for compliance with the Information Security Management System (ISMS) and Environmental Management System (EMS) Standards.

Special Events

(a) Inauguration of the Oil Jetty November 13, 2008

One of the major port development projects since 1998 has been the construction of the Oil Jetty dedicated to the handling of petroleum products and liquefied petroleum gas, whilst enhancing safety in the harbour. Deeper draft tankers could be berthed at the jetty with a service platform of about 200 metres.

The Oil Jetty was duly inaugurated on 13 November 2008 by the Honorable Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications.

(b) 3rd Indian Ocean Ports and Logistics 2008 Conference and Exhibition

MPA hosted from 30 - 31 October 2008 the 3rd Indian Ocean Ports and Logistics 2008 Conference and Exhibition organized by Transport Events Management. Some 25 world class speakers and some 200 senior executives/delegates from over 20 countries attended this event. Some of the world's leading shipping lines, shippers, cargo owners, freight forwarders, logistics companies, ports, terminal operators, port equipment and services suppliers also participated in the Exhibition. The event not only served to promote the Mauritian port, shipping, transport and logistics sectors but also showcased the country as a five-star cultural, tourism and international conference destination.

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