Madagascar International Container Terminal Services, Ltd., (MICTSL), a subsidiary of Philippine-based International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), has announced the completion of its US$30 million first phase modernization program for Madagascar’s main port, the Madagascar International Container Terminal in Toamasina.

The multi-million investment covers modern container handling equipment, infrastructure and information technology.

Container handling equipment introduced at the terminal include a US$5.2 million twin-lift mobile harbor crane from Gottwald, four rubber tired gantries (RTG) from Noell-Reggiane costing US$5 million, and miscellaneous equipment from Kalmar including terminal trucks and reach stackers worth US$2 million.

Other investments include the US$7m rehabilitation and development of the terminal’s container yard to enable the use of RTGs and over US$1 million dollars in terminal operating systems from NAVIS SPARCS.

Speaking on the inauguration of the investments, Enrique K. Razon Jr., ICTSI chairman and president, said that the recent development at the terminal is a milestone in the continuing history of Malagasy port development. He thanked the Malagasy government, in particular port authority Soci’t’ du Gestion du Port Autonome de Toamasine (SPAT), for promoting the robust foreign investment environment in the country.

He said that the investment is a major step in achieving ICTSI’s vision of transforming the terminal into one of the most modern and most efficient ports in Africa.

Razon also pledged support for the government’s ‘Madagascar Action Plan,’ a program by the Malagasy Government to address development challenges and strategies in the country with emphasis, among others, on infrastructure. ‘We hope that through current and future modernization plans here at MICTSL, we will be able to do our part in helping Madagascar achieve a vibrant, high growth economy that is able to meet the demands of globalization,’ he said.

“We shall continue initiating more modernization projects over the next few years, and see to it that the terminal responds to the forthcoming challenges in regional and global trade,” Razon concluded.

Also sharing his views on the completed project, Christian Gonzalez, MICTSL Director General, explained that the investments required for the development of the facility had to be planned to consider not only what was currently needed, but also what was necessary over the long-term to sustain the highest levels of potential growth for Madagascar in the years to come.

Gonzalez credited the success of the project to the partnership and cooperation between MICTSL and various government agencies including APMF, the country’s maritime and harbor agency; customs authorities; MICTSL clients; and especially port authority, SPAT which, he said, has committed all its resources to do what is necessary to create a dynamic and robust investment environment for the continued advancement of Malagasy trade and commerce.

‘It is crucial that we all recognize that MICTSL is not only investing in excess of US$30 million in capacity and efficiency but also in key intangibles like people, relationships, and long-term partnerships. Without these intangible investments, without our partners, the development of this container terminal would not be possible,’ Gonzalez explained.

The Madagascar International Container Terminal is among the overseas terminals ICTSI operates. Won through a competitive bidding process in 2005, the terminal is Madagascar’s leading trade gateway handling 90% of the country’s total container volume. ICTSI established MICTSL as a special purpose company for the project.

ICTSI is a leading developer in international container terminal operations. Headquartered in the Philippines, ICTSI has an experience record that spans container terminal operation in six continents.