Cornelder further expands activities in the Beira port area in Mozambique

Cornelder Holding provides logistics and maritime services in the ports of Rotterdam and Beira, Mozambique. With financing from DGGF, storage capacity and a bulk terminal in Beira and Machipanda, bordering at Zimbabwe, will be expanded. This will create local jobs and deliver a more sustainable infrastructure. Ellen van Dam, CEO of Cornelder Holding, explains why and tells about doing business in booming Africa.

Ellen van Dam CEO Cornelder Holding.
Image: ©Cornelder.

Cornelder in Mozambique

For five years, Ellen van Dam has been CEO of Cornelder Holding, a family business with a rich maritime history. “The logistics business was born to us, I am of the fifth generation,” says Ellen. Adding: “My father is a pioneer, when I look at how long we've been doing business across borders, from China to Africa.”

“We started in Mozambique just after the civil war, about 25 years ago. With our subsidiary, Cornelder de Moçambique, we have been guiding the further development and expansion of the port of Beira, in the coastal region, since 1988. It is a port that we have rebuilt together with the government, local partners and the population – it was completely destroyed – into an excellently functioning terminal, having a sharp eye for safety, health and environmental standards.”

“This Beira Corridor provides more efficient access to the southeast African hinterland (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo) by road and rail than other ports in the coastline of South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania. This gives the Beira Corridor a very important function. Southeast Africa is now one of Cornelder's strategic spearheads.”

Containers in port of Mozambique.
Image: ©Cornelder.

Storage facilities and bulk terminal

Cornelder de Moçambique has been active in the port of Beira for more than twenty years. The construction of storage facilities, a bulk terminal and open space storage are the continuation of these activities.

The new storage facilities and bulk terminal were made possible thanks to financing from Invest International. “As a company Cornelder has invested a substantial amount itself, adding the financing of Invest International gives us even more clout. Not only to be used for the construction of buildings, but also the further development of infrastructure, such as access roads and fences. In the wake of these expansions and activities, other transport connections are being deployed. An example of this is the 317-kilometer-long railway line between Beira and Machipanda. This means fewer wheels towards the hinterland, a greener environment and more cost-efficient and faster transport. That's what we're going for!”, states Ellen.

The DGGF financing contributes to fewer wheels towards the hinterland, a greener environment and more cost-efficient and faster transport.

Creating local jobs

Cornelder de Moçambique employs more than 770 people and the Dutch company is the largest employer in the area. “At the new bulk terminal we work with a minimum number of expats, so training local staff is an important part of how we operate. The terminal has now been put into operation, is not yet operating at half capacity, but is already providing more than 30 jobs.”

Man with walkie talkie in harbour Mozambique.
Image: ©Cornelder.

The Dutch Good Growth Fund is used for financing the expansion of Cornelder in Mozambique, executed by Invest International. Traditional banks are skeptical about such financing, since doing business in Africa is not without risk. “Doing business and entrepreneurship always involves risks”, says Ellen, adding: “Mozambique is a country with many challenges and opportunities.“

“As a company, we have been established in the country for over twenty years. Our experience and contacts gives us a solid basis to work from, which helps to see and seize opportunities more quickly to initiate new developments. In that respect, Africa is booming with many opportunities. The good relationship of the Dutch government with that of Mozambique, in combination with the government programs for water and infrastructure, is a welcome added value. And, the recent Foreign (BHOS) trade memorandum of the ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation focuses on projects in which Aid and Trade reinforce each other. Our activities and this financing fit in very well with that.”