Port Louis Harbour is home to the nation’s main harbor, which is the only official port of entry and exit for sea vessels in Mauritius. Ships must be cleared in the port before visiting any other anchorage in the island nation.
The Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA), established by law in 1998, is the port authority responsible for Port Louis. The MPA provides port infrastructure, enters into contracts with private providers for port and cargo-handling services, promotes the use and development of the ports, and licenses and regulates port and marine services. The harbor adjoins the main city, with the port currently comprising three terminals. Terminal I contains a total of 1180 meters of quay, with six berthing positions for cargo, passengers, and fishing boats. Terminal II contains 986 meters of quays with six berthing positions, and includes specialized facilities for handling and storing sugar, fish, tallow, and caustic soda. In particular, the Bulk Sugar Terminal (operated by the Mauritius Sugar Terminal Corporation) can handle vessels with up to 11 meters of draft, can load sugar at a rate of 1450 tons per hour, and can store 175,000 tons of cargo. Also present in Terminal II is a dedicated 124-meter cruise ship jetty, with a dredged depth of 10.8 metres. Terminal III has two 280-meter quays with a depth of 14 meters, and is specialized for handling container ships, having three super-post-Panamax and five post-Panamax gantry cranes. Also present are storage facilities for bulk ethanol and tie-in points for reefer containers. Vessels too large to dock at the quays can anchor at the Outer Anchorage, which is still within the official boundaries of the port.
The number of ships visiting the port numbered at over 2,200 annually in 2010. In 2019, cargo container capacity was 1 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). Overall, the port contributes 2% to the country’s GDP
The cruise ship terminal, opened in 2010 and named after Christian Decotter (past chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Advisory Board), illustrates the increasing role of tourism in the economy of Mauritius. Cruise ships of up to 300 metres can be accommodated at the facility, which includes two access bridges for passengers and vehicles. The facility was the first in the Indian Ocean to be capable of handling the largest cruise ships in the world. In 2012, passenger arrivals by sea included 11,510 tourists and 6,450 excursionists who arrived aboard 23 cruise ships.
Berthing facilities are available at the Caudan Waterfront. Available are 20 berths with electrical and water connections, showers and toilets, laundry, and vehicle parking. Also available are dry dock and hull and sail repair facilities. Depths of the berths range from 2 to 4 meters, depending on the tide, and up to 30-meter ships can be accommodated.
Also based in the port is the National Coast Guard facility, at Quay A of Terminal I.
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