Cornelder in Mozambique

For five years, Ellen van Dam has been CEO of Cornelder Holding, a family business with a rich maritime history. “The logistics business was born to us, I am of the fifth generation,” says Ellen. Adding: “My father is a pioneer, when I look at how long we’ve been doing business across borders, from China to Africa.”

“We started in Mozambique just after the civil war, about 25 years ago. With our subsidiary, Cornelder de Moçambique, we have been guiding the further development and expansion of the port of Beira, in the coastal region, since 1988. It is a port that we have rebuilt together with the government, local partners and the population – it was completely destroyed – into an excellently functioning terminal, having a sharp eye for safety, health and environmental standards.”

“This Beira Corridor provides more efficient access to the southeast African hinterland (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo) by road and rail than other ports in the coastline of South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania. This gives the Beira Corridor a very important function. Southeast Africa is now one of Cornelder’s strategic spearheads.”

Investing in the Port of Beira

Cornelder de Moçambique has been active in the port of Beira for more than twenty years. The construction of storage facilities, a bulk terminal and open space storage are the continuation of these activities.

The new storage facilities and bulk terminal were made possible thanks to financing from Invest International. “As a company Cornelder has invested a substantial amount itself, adding the financing of Invest International gives us even more clout. Not only to be used for the construction of buildings, but also the further development of infrastructure, such as access roads and fences. In the wake of these expansions and activities, other transport connections are being deployed. An example of this is the 317-kilometer-long railway line between Beira and Machipanda. This means fewer wheels towards the hinterland, a greener environment and more cost-efficient and faster transport. That’s what we’re going for!”, states Ellen.

Ellen van Dam CEO Cornelder

For five years, Ellen van Dam has been CEO of Cornelder Holding, a family business with a rich maritime history.

“The goal: fewer wheels towards the hinterland, a greener environment and more cost-efficient and faster transport.”

Ellen van Dam

CEO Cornelder Holding

Local jobs and knowledge transfer

Cornelder de Moçambique employs more than 770 people and the Dutch company is the largest employer in the area. “At the new bulk terminal we work with a minimum number of expats, so training local staff is an important part of how we operate. The terminal has now been put into operation, is not yet operating at half capacity, but is already providing more than 30 jobs.”

Making impact with focusing on:

• creating local jobs (SDG 8).
• knowledge transfer.
• sustainability with a favorable effect on the climate and the environment (SDG 13).
• creating a logistics chain to the hinterland that functions well from head to tail.
• using more cost-effective train connections, resulting in less CO2 emissions and less nuisance from diesel trucks on the E16 Highway.
• using products at the terminal that suppress dust, which is better for health and the climate.
• reducing of water use when cleaning machines.

Read more on our view on impact

Doing business in Africa

Invest International has, in the case of Cornelder, used the Dutch Good Growth Fund for financing. Traditional banks are skeptical about such financing, since doing business in Africa is not without risk. “Doing business and entrepreneurship always involves risks”, says Ellen, adding: “Mozambique is a country with many challenges and opportunities.“

“As a company, we have been established in the country for over twenty years. Our experience and contacts gives us a solid basis to work from, which helps to see and seize opportunities more quickly to initiate new developments. In that respect, Africa is booming with many opportunities. The good relationship of the Dutch government with that of Mozambique, in combination with the government programs for water and infrastructure, is a welcome added value. And, the recent Foreign (BHOS) trade memorandum of the ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation focuses on projects in which Aid and Trade reinforce each other. Our activities and this financing fit in very well with that.”

View of bulk terminal Cornelder Mozambique

Beira is a port Cornelder has rebuilt together with the Mozambican government, local partners and the population into an excellently functioning terminal.

Developing Beira further together

Cornelder expects the storage facilities and bulk terminal to be fully operational by mid-2023, both in Beira and in Machipanda. This coincides well with another Invest International project: the sustainable coastal protection of the port city of Beira against flooding and erosion caused by climate change.

The expansion of Cornelder’s business helps the country improve infrastructure and logistics chain, allowing the Beira region to re-establish its position after all the challenges this region has been experiencing due to Cyclone Idai.

Read more on the website of Cornelder Holding