Port of Toamasina (Tamatave), Madagascar

Latitude 18° 8' 60 S, Longitude 49° 25' 0 E

Ports Authority
Ministère du Transport et de la Meteorologie
BP 4139
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
Tel. (261) 20-22-24604
Fax. (261) 20-22-24001
TLX 22256 MG

Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island, is located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique. Toamasina (Tamatave) is the nation's chief port and is connected by rail with Antananarivo. Toamasina exports sugar, coffee, cloves, and rice. Food processing is the chief industry. The port system has essentially been left untouched since independence in 1960, though in some areas, the private sector itself began to manage port facilities. Pricing of imported products depends on import duties, which generally range from 0 to 30, percent and on the location of the sale. Profit margins on all products tend to be small, around 7 to 10 percent. As a result of the devaluation of the Malagasy Franc in May 1994, local prices of imported goods have risen dramatically, although imported goods are also much more available now than 5 years ago. Safmarine and Maersk vessels trade at this seaport.

Solima (Solitany Malagasy) refinery is located at this port. Solitany Malagasy (Solima) controls the importation of crude and bulk fuels although this sector is expected to be privatized. Solima also purchases gasoil from the oil companies and then sells the product to the shipping industry. Imports of bitumen, bunkers, base oils and LPG are administered by the private sector. Solima carries out distribution and marketing of fuels products. The Galana consortium's take over of the Solima petroleum refinery at Toamasina helps the privatization. The successful consortium comprises Galana Petroleum, Gulf Oil International, Petroleum India International, Groupe Trimeta and some local investors. In 1999, about 85% of Madagascar's crude petroleum were imported from Iran, and from Qatar, about 15%. Xpronet Resources Inc of Houston, TX signed petroleum exploration contracts with the Government.

The Northern Network of the Malagasy Railway consists of three lines, built between 1903-1926. They carry 94% of the rail freight and 86% of the passenger rail traffic of the country. The network is entirely single track, metric gauge with a maximum axle load of 16 tons. The TCE line is from the port of Toamasina to the capital city of Antananarivo.

A pleasant town and the most important port in Madagascar. Departure point for excursions by car, boat, train or plane. Forest station and flora laboratory at Ivoloina (7 miles north of town). The town was founded in the 18th century around a European trading post. After its capture (1817) by Radama I, it became the chief port of his kingdom. Toamasina was occupied repeatedly by the French, and it was the base for their conquest (1894) of the interior. Severely damaged (1927) by a storm, the city was subsequently rebuilt. Rain forest and virgin beaches are north towards Mahavelona. There are many beach resorts, but probably not for sea bathing (because of the sharks)!!

Every year the island of Madagascar experiences a number of cyclones, which cause extensive damage to infrastructure, and destruction of people's lives as thousands lose there homes and crops. Often the affected people have to depend on international relief and rehabilitation assistance in order to pull through the emergency periods. October to April is the cyclone period but storms come occasionally in May and June. Between 26 January and 4 February 2004, cyclone Elita hit Madagascar several times causing severe damage. May 2003 had cyclone Manou bring severe damage with winds of more than 200km/hour and heavy rains. In March 2004, cyclone Gafilo hit the northern coast of Madagascar at Antalaha and crossed parts of the island with wind speeds in excess of 300 km/hour leaving close to 200 people dead. Gafilo was the worst storm since 1994.

Madagascar has laws to combat corruption but they are not efficiently enforced. Corruption is most pervasive in the administrative sector (project approval, government procurements, licenses, judicial matters, etc.) Tax evasion is widespread in Madagascar, accompanied by bribery of customs or other tax officials. French is the usual business language and the medium for all documentation.

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