Copper, the metal, is used in such a wide range of industries that its price has become as an indicator of overall economic health.
Therefore, the decreasing copper price from the peak in 2011 is something that in the eyes of financial analysts translates into lower industrial demand, less economic growth and raised eyebrows. For Zambia, where copper is the backbone of the economy, the decline means a slowdown and hard times.
“Zambia is copper, and copper is Zambia,” says Bruce Marshall, Maersk Line’s Country Manager for the Hinterland Territories of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
“While the situation is quite severe, prices have always fluctuated like this. We believe the prices will recover, but the question is when it will happen. Meanwhile, we can collaborate with our customers and partners to make our joint logistics more efficient,” he says.
Far from a port
In 2013, Zambia’s 760,000 tonne production of copper was second only to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa, and accounted for roughly three quarters of the country’s export base.