Two members of the Famous Pacific Shipping network are cooperating to expand their portfolio of forwarding services in the niche trade between the UK and Mauritius.
UK forwarder and NVOCC operator F.S. Mackenzie (FSM) is working with Mauritius shipping group, Somatrans to develop scheduled weekly services to the main port of Port Louis, for both LCL and FCL cargoes.
Explained FSM's Managing Director, Alfred Stienen: "Mauritius, at little more than 700 square miles, is one of the fastest-expanding economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"There are excellent trading opportunities between the UK and the Indian Ocean Islands and we have had to expand connections from Mauritius to other centers in the region, including Madagascar, Reunion, the Seychelles and Mayot Island."
F.S. Mackenzie expects trade to continue to expand this year, based on strong trends last year. Forecasts are for growth in Mauritius' GDP at about 5% for 2004. "This would better last year's growth rate, in itself a robust performance in a time of global economic uncertainty," Stienen continued.
"Mauritius is an African success story and has actively encouraged investment into local industries, boosting trade, particularly in textiles and garment manufacturing. It is also gaining by working towards economic integration and production sharing with other southern African nations.
"The transformation of the island in 40 years, from a mono-crop economy to one that now encompasses manufacturing, tourism, financial services and a budding ICT sector, has been remarkable," he said. "Mauritius has become a land of opportunities for investors of all sorts as it offers many incentive schemes including preferential access to third countries through its membership of various agreements, which opens opportunities for our customers," he added.
Mauritius has attracted more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa
, and investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion.
Increasingly Mauritius is being exploited as a hub to promote exports to neighboring African countries and Madagascar.
"Shippers using the global network that Famous Pacific Shipping has in place are finding that in Mauritius they have access to a very strong regional base for international trade," Stienen explained.
"The Freeport in Mauritius is now well established as the main logistics hub in the region for warehousing, distribution, import and export of goods - including value added services. Most of the major shipping lines serve Mauritius with regular and frequent shipping connections to the world's main markets."
>From the UK, FSM consolidates cargoes for Mauritius at its Basildon headquarters, but goods are received throughout the company's network in the UK - at Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, London (West at Heathrow), Manchester and Newcastle.
"There is no doubt that the prospects for trade for UK exporters are very bright indeed in the areas served by our Mauritius services," Stienen added. "We are confident that we offer the connections that the trade needs, and our long standing experience in the region, plus our partner's connections add up to a recipe for success."