Mozambique’s port of Beira is functioning well after the devastating Cyclone Idai, and sea and road connections have been restored. Nicola del Vecchio, Managing Director of MSC Mozambique, explains how the company and its employees responded to an emergency situation.
Q. What happened?
Cyclone Idai is regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole. It was truly shocking to witness the power of the storm and the damage it has caused, and MSC expresses its sincere condolences and concerns for all those affected. This includes our own employees, and their families, who have suffered during the events of the past two weeks.
Q. What was the response?
Much of the damage has already been repaired both at the port and beyond. The container terminal and the general cargo terminal at Beira are operational following damage, railway lines are working again and many road repairs have been completed. This is testament to the bravery, dedication and hard work of everyone involved in the port and elsewhere.
Q. Did MSC provide aid and assistance?
MSC, along with MSC-owned logistics business MEDLOG, is continuing to support intergovernmental organisations and international aid groups by providing shipping and logistics services. This includes the provision of containers, as well as space on ships for food imports, as part of the overall relief effort.
The MV Border was the first locally organized relief vessel to reach Beira, delivering 185 teus packed with food, water, medicines and aid cargo, 103 of were provided by MSC, and collaborated with the World Food Program (WFP) to transport 81 teus of rice to Beira. We sent a container on the MV Border with aid and relief cargo for MSC staff and their families and offered Maersk some space to load relief goods for their staff.
The MSC Capri was the first container vessel to berth in Beira after the cyclone. She came alongside on just four days after the cyclone hit. This was a testament to the tenacity and dedication of our MSC Beira team. The work done by the logistics community in Beira in the days immediately after the cyclone not only meant that help got to those who most need it, but in the long run guarantees the wellbeing of innumerous families, in Beira and the region, who rely on this logistics network for their employment and wellbeing.
Q. What else have you done?
MSC, based on its own initiative, has been in contact with the Health Ministry to organise an information campaign on cholera prevention, which is a major concern. Our employees and families have been out in the city distributing information pamphlets. Of course, as the situation stabilises, we will evaluate how further we can assist.
Q. How did the cyclone affect operations?
MSC has been working hard to minimise disruption to our customers. Ocean services have resumed and the port is accessible by road, but despite the huge progress made, some facilities such as warehousing remain affected. The container terminal is working with one berth and two gantry cranes. The second berth has been dedicated to aid and relief vessels while two gantry cranes are under repair.
Q. Do you have a message for those who have helped the repair efforts?
Yes. Thank you! You have managed to keep essential aid flowing and maintained operations in these most trying circumstances, not only in terms of the working environment, but also because of concern for your families at the height of the storm. This has truly been an example of why MSC is a family company and that our chief asset is our people. Without you, we could not have achieved any of this.