April 17, 2018

Bollore sees West African ports’ capacity lasting for decade

Bollore SA, the largest ports operator in Africa, said billions of euros of investment in upgrades to West African harbours by governments and companies will provide enough capacity for them to operate sufficiently for the next 10 years.

Countries in the region have been investing heavily in ports to cope with rising traffic in the region and accommodate larger cargo vessels as economic growth increases. Bollore’s biggest projects on the continent include harbours in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, while the French company is working with partners on a US$1billion expansion of Tema Port.

The Ghana project is “well-advanced” and should be completed by the middle of next year, Stanislas de Saint Louvent – deputy chief executive officer of Bollore Ports – said in an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. A 400 million-euro (US$494million) investment by the company and partner Maersk APM Terminals in a second container terminal at Abidjan, with inputs from China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., will be operational by mid-2020, he said. In Sierra Leone, Bollore is finalising an extension to a container terminal in the capital Freetown that’s due to be finished in September.

Port Projects

Those three projects will take up the majority of Bollore’s Africa investment in ports over the next three years, De Saint Louvent said. The company has spent almost 3 billion euros in Africa over the past decade, including in railway and transportation as well as ports, said Jerome Petit, Africa CEO for Bollore Logistics, in the same interview.

Bollore has a near-monopoly on ports in West and Central Africa, holding concessions to operate container terminals in 15 nations including Guinea, Togo and Nigeria. The company also runs 25 dry ports, including in landlocked nations such as Burkina Faso and Chad. The group’s market share in Africa is about 13 percent, according to the company’s website. It has operations in almost every country on the continent.

In Cameroon, the deep-sea port of Kribi – built by CHEC and mostly funded by the Eximbank of China – became operational last month and is partly run by Bollore. An expansion project is in the pipeline.

“The port capacity on the West African coast will be able to absorb volumes for the next ten years,” De Saint Louvent said.

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