TOAMASINA PORT   Madagascar’s main port

Port of Toamasina, Madagascar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Toamasina, Madagascar

Port of Toamasina (Tamatave), Madagascar

Coordinates:  Latitude 18° 8′ 60 S, Longitude 49° 25′ 0 E

Port Authority

Société du Port à gestion Autonome de Toamasina (SPAT)

Tel   +261 53 2155
Fax  +261 53 3558

Website:  (under construction)

Port Captain (Capitaine de port):
Tel +261 34 231 5985
Fax +261 53 3558

Toamasina, Madagascar's chief port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Toamasina, Madagascar’s chief port


The Port of Toamasina is situated on the east coast of Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world.  The port faces into the Indian Ocean.  Toamasina is connected by rail with the country’s capital city of Antananarivo.

With the advent of concessioning of terminals the port has become modernised and boasts an efficient container terminal, operated on a 20-year concession by Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), awarded in 2005 and operating as MICTSL (Madagascar International Container Terminal Services Ltd.).

The concession involved the operation, management, financing, rehabilitation and development of the container terminal by the concessionaire. The concession consisted of a bid of €36.80 for the variable concession fee to be paid to the port authority for each TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) that will transit through the terminal.

The port of Toamasina now handles 90 percent of Madagascar’s container traffic and more than 80 percent of all other commodities.  Whereas before concessioning the throughput at Toamasina was extremely low – 5 to 6 TEU per hour being the norm compared with a then global port average of 15 TEU p/h. The port also experienced regular bottlenecks in which full containers were reported to have sat in the port for an average of 20 days before clearing. The terminals operated with outdated inefficient equipment.

In addition to the container terminal Toamasina also hosts the Solima (Solitany Malagasy) petroleum refinery, which imports bitumen, bunkers, base oils and LPG and produces and distributes petroleum products. The Solima consortium comprises Galana Petroleum, Gulf Oil International, Petroleum India International, Groupe Trimeta and several local investors.

Toamasina, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Madagascar’s exports consist mainly of agricultural and mining products, including timber, chrome ore, chrome powder, coffee, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, quartz, graphite, black pepper, green pepper, cocoa, sugar, lobsters, raphia, textiles.

Imports are mainly  cement, corn, flour, vegetable oil, rice,fertilizer, tallow, textile accessories

Toamasina (aka Tamatave) was founded in the 18th century around a European trading post (known as a factory). After its capture in 1817 by Radama I, it became the chief port of his kingdom but was recaptured and occupied by the French on a number of occasions, as well as being the base for their 1894 conquest of the interior.


The Northern Network of the Malagasy Railway consists of three lines, built between 1903-1926 to metre-gauge (3ft 33⁄8 ins). The line from Toamasina carries 94% of the rail freight and 86% of the passenger rail traffic of the country.

The network is entirely single track, metre gauge with a maximum axle load of 16 tons.

The busiest line is the TCE (TCE, Tananarive–Côte Est) from the port of Toamasina to the capital city of Antananarivo, which is concessioned to Madarail. The southern line, Fianarantsoa-Côte-Est railway (FCE), is a state-owned line. Occasional special tourist trains (chartered) are operated using restored Micheline railcars for tourists – these are the world’s oldest surviving railcars manufactured by Michelin.

Madagascar, showing location of the country's railway systems, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Madagascar, showing location of the country’s railway systems

Port Volumes & Indicators

The harbour at Toamasina has an average anchorage depth of between 14m to 15.2 metres.  The depths alongside the general cargo berths vary from 4.9m to 6.1 metres;  alongside the oil terminal from 12.5m to 13.7 metres.

In 2016 a total of 624 vessels, all types, called at Toamasina.  Containers handled that years totalled 220,000 TEUs. Total port volumes over four years up to 2015 were:

2012:  4,010,066 tonnes
2013:  4,467,165 tonnes
2014:  5,550,709 tonnes
2015:  6,219,602 tonnes

In 2015 the port had a container capacity of 400,000 TEUs a year, and was actually handling about half that amount. Planed extensions to the terminal and port (see video) will increase the berth capacity by 470 metres of quayside with a draught alongside of 16 metres. The current limit of ship entering port if 40,000 tons which will then increase to 60,000 tons dwt when the extensions are completed by 2023.


An unusual transport facility is the Canal des Pangalanes, a series of natural rivers, waterways and man-made lakes which runs from north to south along the east coast for over 400 miles (645 kms) from Mahavelona to Farafangana and including Toamasina along the route.


The Port of Toamasina is ISPS compliant.

VIDEO The video shown below (recommended) presents an introduction & overview of the port – French language with English sub-titles [13:28]