Ports are key links in international transport networks. They are strategically located in the international transport chain as an interface in the cargo flow from one mode of transport to another and as a logistical platform for the exchange of information. Thus, cooperation among ports as well as networking with international and regional port organisations is essential within the transport chain, including the information network. Indeed, the performance of one link of the transport chain depends on the performance of the other links. Information networks create opportunities for cooperation. Efficient transport relies as much on steady flows of up-dated information as on reliable infrastructure. Thus, port authorities on behalf of the port community, cooperate to exchange information on dangerous cargo and also basic information required for port operations. Reliable communications and the ability to link with other ports has become an essential item of the services that must be provided by a port authority. Integration of activities in shipping calls for cooperation among ports. Port authorities and operators must adapt to the changes. The alternative is to cooperate.
In order to keep abreast of changes in the port and maritime sectors, the MPA is actively involved in a number of international and regional port associations and institutions.
At the international level, MPA is a member of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congress (PIANC), the International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) and the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA). The MPA has also enrolled as a member of the International Association of Ports and Cities (AIVP) which is the worldwide network of ports and cities. It also actively interacts with UNCTAD (Ports Division), ILO (Maritime Branch), IMO and a number of leading international port authorities.
In a bid to boost up regional cooperation among ports, MPA became a founder member of the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) which regroups 19 countries of the eastern and southern African region. PMAESA's primary objective is to strengthen relations among member ports with a view to promoting regional cooperation and subsequently regional integration. The Association offers an appropriate framework for the exchange of information and ideas among members and to create an enabling environment whereby any member can interface with one another in the port, transport and trade arenas.
In 2007, the MPA has pioneered the Ports Association of Indian Ocean Islands (PAIOI) with a view to federating the ports in the region into an association working towards improving the conditions of operation and management of the ports of the Indian Ocean. The MPA is also actively engaged in the Observatory of Ports and Cities in the Indian Ocean which is the regional arm of the AIVP generating discussions on the problems of development of ports-cities and harbours of the Indian ocean zone.
On the other hand ,the MPA also enjoys sister port relationships with the Port Autonome de Marseille, Port Autonome de Rouen, Port Said Port Authority and Port of Fremantle and intends to enter into similar partnerships with other major ports in the future, such as the ports of Singapore, Shanghai (China) and Toamasina (Madagascar).