Port-Louis, where the Mauritius Container Terminal (MCT) is located, operates both as an export-import port for Mauritius (including imports from neighbouring countries, e.g. coal or vegetables from South Africa, and exports to neighbouring islands like Madagascar) and also as a transhipment port for containers (using feeder routes between Mauritius and the other Indian Ocean islands). The purpose of the project to extend the MCT is to enable it to accommodate longer vessels with a larger draught given the overall growth in the size of container ships on long-distance, high-sea-traffic lines to generate economies of scale. By improving its infrastructure, Port Louis seeks to continue to attract transhipment traffic resulting from large vessel calls. In connection with this project of extension of the container terminal capacity, the restructuring of the handling company, CHCL, is on-going. All works and investments are expected to be finalised by end of 2017.
The Direct grant from the EU-AITF to the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) will be used to mitigate the negative environmental and social impacts of the project. The grant will reinforce MPA’s efforts to conserve the port environment and developing Port-Louis as a "green port". The majority of the EU-AITF funds (EUR 2.063 million) will part-finance the construction of the rock bund to create reclamation land, while the rest of the funds will be used to finance the deployment of a silt screen for coral protection (EUR 405,000) and protect the bird sanctuary (EUR 225,000). The works are on-going and expected to be finalised by end of 2017.