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The port of Quelimane in Mozambique’s Zambézia province has lost some 60 million meticais (EUR 820,000) since the seizure of 97 containers of wood a year ago, the daily O País reported.
“One of the [cargo] lines is already moving empty containers stored in Quelimane to Nacala [Nampula province, north of the country] because there is cargo there,” said Remígio Fato, one of those responsible for the port.
The port was found to be being used to send containers of timber to China in September last year in contravention of the Forest and Wildlife Act, which permits the export of first class species of wood only after processing within Mozambique.
Wood was the main source of income for the Quelimane port operators, who now say they will leave the port.
Cornelder, the company responsible for Qulimane Port, makes 90 percent of its income from wood and has reported losses of around 60 million meticais since last year, putting 65 jobs at risk.
This reduction has also affected customs revenue, with the port timber business previously accounting for 35 percent of the province’s overall revenues.
“The fall-off in timber exports has had negative implications for the collection of revenues at the Zambézia provincial level,” a Customs source said.
The Zambézia provincial director of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Diogo Borges, admitted there was a problem but said that that the government was working to resolve the situation.