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Moengo port facilities up and running

Moengo port facilities up and running

 

By Ivan Cairo

 

Just three years after Traymore Docks took over an obsolete bauxite export terminal in Moengo, eastern Suriname, from the US-based multinational Alcoa, this privately owned port has been transformed. The terminal at Moengo is being refitted to offer regular port services and has become a major fuel distribution point in the area.

Last year Traymore acquired port equipment including mobile stackers and upgraded security systems.

Traymore’s CEO, Eugene Profijt, said: “We didn’t process any containerships as yet, but we are still on track to become Suriname’s second-largest port facility and a major hub for freight destined for neighbouring French Guiana.”

Discussing the port’s current activities and future plans, Mr Profijt said that, before year-end, storage facilities would be offered to wood exporters. The port manager said a significant amount of Suriname’s wood destined for foreign markets was being harvested in the Marowijne district. 

 

“Why take the logs all the way to the port in Paramaribo, some 100 km away, when you have a facility nearby and making use of that could save you a lot of money as exporter,” he argued. 

 

Meanwhile, the Moengo company is tapping into the area’s growing economic activities, especially in the mining and forestry sectors. From its 53,000 barrels bunkering facility, Traymore distributes fuel to sand and gravel miners and other building material producers. Fuel is also sold to small-scale gold miners and forestry companies. Each month the port handles two fuel tankers from Trinidad and Tobago. “We have our own fuel trucks for distribution,” said Mr Profijt.

While container handling has not yet become reality, cargo and packed goods are already being processed. According to Eugene Profijt, container handling is delayed because of the ongoing reconstruction and upgrading of the east-west highway to French Guiana. Currently, a lot of freight for French Guiana is being handled at the Nieuwe Haven port in Paramaribo. He anticipates that some of this freight will ultimately be handled at Traymore Docks.

The road, however, is in a deplorable state in some sections and is now under reconstruction.

“The French border is just a 30-minute drive away, if the road was in good condition,” he said. “At the moment it would be too difficult to transport containers.”

Traymore Docks also expects contracts in the near future from the USA-based mining multinational Newmont, which is currently negotiating with the Suriname government a gold-mining contract near Moengo. Newmont has announced that it would invest up to US$ 800 million in establishing a gold mine in the Merian area, south of Moengo.

In order to meet international port standards, security at the Moengo facilities has been upgraded. The docks are fully monitored electronically, with armed guards on duty. Since there is no adequate hotel accommodation in Moengo, Traymore has established several fully furnished apartments on its premises to provide overnight accommodation for ship’s crew. The company has also purchased two buildings in the former bauxite city to provide housing for a local manager and office accommodation.

“We don’t want to be a competitor for other ports in the country, but we want to position ourselves as a port to facilitate economic development in the Moengo and Marowijne region,” said Mr Profijt. “One of our main objectives is to facilitate production activities in this region. Whoever wants to do business in this area, in the long run will have to deal with us, since it would be more cost-efficient to do business with us.”

He regards the investments in the Moengo port as a long-term asset. However, the company is already seeing some return on its investment.

“We are confident that the economic activities in this part of Suriname will continue to grow and that our port facilities will play an important role in the future development of the Marowijne district,” said the Traymore CEO.