African ports are rivaling improvements to accommodate more substantial vessels. Volumes, transshipment, corridors to the hinterland, JA delivers the keys to this level of competition.


The misfortune of some can make the joy of others. When the drop in oil selling prices did a undesirable blow to the Nigerian megaprojects (Lekki and Badagry), now dormant, the very same is not real for the other internet sites on the western façade. From Conakry to Kribi by using San Pedro Abidjan or Tema, all compete for the will to extend and modernize. “The update fears installations of the seventies. It began in 2010 with Lomé and Pointe-Noire, and aims to raise them to the worldwide conventional of containerization,” recollects Paul Tourret, director of the Higher Institute of Economics (Isemar).

A race that is accompanied by hefty investments. As in the Kribi deep-water container terminal built to relieve congestion in the port of Douala. A $ 574 million challenge (about 490 million euros) for which the Franco-Chinese consortium of Bolloré, CMA-CGM and China Harbor Engineering Organization (CHEC, a subsidiary of the conglomerate China Communications Construction Co., CCCC) a concession of 20-five several years on July 25.

With a depth of sixteen m, a 350 m system and a potential of 8 000 TEU, considering the fact that 2015, Kribi will rely at the close of the operates 715 m of platforms and will be in a position to to accommodate ships carrying 11,000 bins.

A intense level of competition

If the French operators Bolloré, Danish APM Terminals (a subsidiary of the shipowner Maersk) or the Italian-Mediterranean shipping enterprise MSC (by using Terminal Expenditure Confined, TIL) are operating independently in Africa – are all seeking to get a regional situation, but big businesses in the Middle Kingdom this sort of as China Harbor Engineering Organization are in charge of design.

The latter will make investments 774 million pounds in the extension of the port of Conakry. The Chinese enterprise also carries out the trans-shipment port of São Tomé and Príncipe, estimated at 800 million pounds, and the next container terminal of Abidjan. Five hundred million euros will also be invested in the extension of the port of San Pedro, for which MSC obtained a concession of thirty-five several years in May perhaps .

For its component, Bolloré declared in February to make investments one hundred fifty billion CFA francs (virtually 229 million euros) in the enlargement of the Pointe-Noire web-site.

Faced with this level of competition, the more modest buildings try to resist. Hence Cotonou, tricky-rocked by its more comprehensive neighbors, Abidjan, Tema and Lomé, launched this yr the enlargement of its basins in order to house ships of 14 m draft and 300 m extensive.

Sign of this intense level of competition, Bolloré and CCCC have been eyeing considering the fact that July the modernization of the port of Banjul (Gambia) nearby

Senegal is also squandering its weapons by thinking of a new port in N&#39Dayane (aimed at the 20 m draft), 50 km from Dakar, whose design would be ensured by the emirates DP Environment. A further signal of this intense level of competition, Bolloré and CCCC are eyeing considering the fact that July the modernization of the nearby port of Banjul (Gambia)

The intention of all these port complexes is to draw in vessels of 9 000 TEUs, the average structure of globalization and the maritime equal of the Airbus A380, which make it possible for shipowners to realize economies of scale, “says Paul Tourret .

There is a extensive way to go when these ports were being only dealing with vessels of 3 000 TEUs and trade was modest in this marketplace, which resembled European roads. “Shipowners impose their dictates on ports, which must follow in terms of draft and speed of handling. Possibly they adapt or they see the largest vessels passing to the neighbor and are only served by tiny models at higher expenses, “clarifies Gilbert Meyer, an qualified at Catram Consultants.

A big vessel not meant to enter every port, one particular of the knots of the battle lies in the potential of transhipment and transit, which can make it attainable to reorient the containers in direction of other ports of the area. ]

Boasting deep waters, 200 m of docks and a central situation in the Gulf of Guinea, the port of Lomé, managed by MSC and Bolloré considering the fact that 2009, is now participating in a hub.

“The fact that two containers out of 3 now come from Asia has also redistributed the cards in favor of Pointe-Noire and Port-Gentil-Dakar, conversely, getting penalized,” says Paul Tourret. San Pedro is now also a system for redistribution to secondary ports in the Gulf of Guinea this sort of as Takoradi (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone) or Monrovia (Liberia) for MSC.

A Much better Upcoming

A further component of the struggle is the efficiency of the corridors as a result of which goods transit to the countries of the hinterland (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic …). The one particular that connects Pointe-Noire to Kinshasa by using Brazzaville was opened at the close of 2016.

Even with overcrowded land communications, which are too pricey and not secure plenty of, the ports of Abidjan and Tema show up to be more favored, though Lomé really should gain from Togo&#39s attempts in highway infrastructure. To regain a next wind, the Dakar-Bamako corridor will have to wait for the renovation of the railway url.

In the small time period, not everyone will be financially rewarding, but we are investing for fifty several years, “notes Gilbert Meyer

When targeted visitors fluidity is a necessity, most industry experts are anxious about the profusion of megaprojects in an era of overcapacity of merchant ships. “In the small time period, not everyone will be financially rewarding, but we make investments for fifty several years,” says Meyer.

“The specialization of these megaports in petroleum and mineral items, with the emergence of big shipyards, is a path for reflection,” argues Bara Sady, previous basic supervisor of the Port of Dakar. At MSC&#39s Swiss headquarters, we are also optimistic: “Given the development in future trade, we system to have more substantial volumes with more substantial vessels. “

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