Tuscor Lloyds, adventures in Mozambique
Over the last few months there has been a hive of activity in a small town in East Africa called Pemba, since the mineral wealth discovered offshore in fields such as Maniamba, Zambezi Graben, Banhine, Mazeng Graben, Limpopo Graben, Palmeiras Graben and Buzi Block as well as various oil and gas discovery sites such as Camarao, Windjammer, Tubarao, Barquentine 1, 2 and 3 and Lagosta. Along with the commissioning of exploration licences the sleepy town of Pemba has become the new frontier for logistics companies and leading the pack is Tuscor Lloyds. The story is told by Nick Rodriguez who led our first expedition into Pemba, a unique location in Mozambique.
Nick; “I’ve been involved heavily with our work in East Africa and until 8 months ago it’s fair to say the majority of our business was focused on three countries, Uganda, Kenya and to a lesser extent Sudan. Then we were contacted by a client of ours to urgently move some cargo from Canada to Pemba with the strict instruction that the cargo must only be discharged in Pemba due to local requirements. As it happens Pemba is a port (amongst others in the area such as Nacala, Maputo and Beira) which only gets a call by a passing regular ship once (or twice in the busy seasons!) every six to eight weeks. Due to the unique requirements we believed it best to source our own container on behalf of the client which allowed us to navigate the container over multiple ports and vessels, along the way attending to customs documents allows us to move the cargo from one terminal to another when this was needed. The shipment certainly had its problems along the way, delays to paperwork being stamped and signed meant we missed a vessel in one port and a suspected series of Somali Pirate attacks in another region delayed another vessel whilst local vessel owners organised a group transit party in a “safety in numbers” attitude towards the situation. Thankfully the shipment arrived albeit a little later than anticipated but in one piece and crucially for our clients needs with direct discharge onto the Pemba quayside.“
That was the start of our “Moz-Freighter service”, the first shipment was just the initial kit required to undertake inspection work and with that up and running parts and additional machinery soon had to be sourced and moved over to Pemba to support the field crew. Shipments from Dubai, Tema, Europe and Asia soon started to be placed with us and again the task of identifying the quickest and most reliable routes fell to the projects team again, usually after everyone had left for the evening the lights that overhang the projects team in our Manchester office where left flickering late into the night this time Steven can shine a light on this episode.
Steven; “At first we thought we had learnt it all when Nick did the initial shipment but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Schedule reliability was an issue for us we had seen delays in some shipments and we were simply not happy for cargo to be delayed so with the approval of the clients we were able to discharge in a neighbouring port to Pemba and arrange on-carriage. The client had identified Maputo as an alternative port but we quickly moved to provide an alternative view to using this port, the distance is too great and the cost was too expensive in our opinion so we sourced an alternative route. We were in the process of starting an open agency agreement with a local agent in the Pemba area so together we quickly sourced local trucking companies with a wide range of chassis and trailers who were keen to put them at our disposal. The result is we reduced our down time in transhipment ports and had cargo moving to site quicker than anticipated which actually created another headache in the fact that cargo was arriving ahead of the schedule. This to be fair is unique in East Africa which is plagued with congestion in its ports, admittedly there was a lot of buffer in the original schedule due to the delays we had experienced in the past. We really felt like we were in the golden age of exploration creating new paths to Pemba all we needed was Pilth Hit and Gin & Tonic to complete the feel, and I can assure you the G&T was certainly earned.“
Today the project team are still moving cargo into Pemba it’s been a big success story and we can look back on late nights and early mornings now with the feeling it was time and energy well spent, the clients have grown on the back of our success (all the clients know each other and share information about who is good and who can be trusted) and people continue to appreciate making this part of Africa a little easier to reach now. Additionally we are pleased to see the local supply chain benefiting as we committed to seeing local companies in the region sharing in the success of the offshore wealth, as too the larger companies such as ENI, Saipem and ENH operating in the region are realising the market is growing and given support, more frequent vessels will start calling direct and the connection times will improve. Until then we’ll continue to expedite cargo into Pemba the best way we know, so feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email should you have cargo you need moving to the Pemba.
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