(Ecofin Agency) - In 2017, the autonomous port of Abidjan handled 22.556 million tons of goods. A figure increase by 3.8% compared to that of the previous year (21.7 million tons). This was revealed by Hien Sié (photo), the port’s managing director, during the launch of the commercial year on February 26.
“This increase is due to a growth in domestic trade, which surged by 5.5% to stand at 19.3 million tons. The transit (ed: from hinterland countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger) also rose by 3% to stand at 2.02 million tons”, he said. He also revealed that the company also handled 663,601 tons of containers, this represents an increase by 4.4% on a year-to-year basis.
The increase in domestic traffic was mainly driven by the exports of cocoa (+32%) and manganese (+149%) as well as cashew from Côte d’Ivoire. Plus, the country recorded an increase in imports of rice and wheat.
For the record, the port of Abidjan is in a strong competition with other ports in the sub-region. Its authorities have announced significant investments estimated at CFA1, 100 billion (about $2 billion) in the 2018-21 period, in order to upgrade the infrastructures.
It should be noted that a series of works to extend the port had already been launched in October 2015. It includes the deepening of Vridi Canal pass, extending its depth from 12 to 16 meter to allow larger vessels to berth, modernization of the current wharves and fishing port, the construction of a mineral terminal and a second container terminal.
85% of the Estimated CFA560 billion (about $1 billion) required for the works was disbursed by Exim bank China and the construction group China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) was contracted to handle the works.
Hien Sié Yacouba also announced that the wharves would be commissioned in late March and works would be finished on Vridi terminal in August. It has also been revealed that the mineral terminal would soon be completed. Furthermore, a tender for the construction of a grain terminal is also planned for June.
First tuna port in sub-Saharan Africa, the port of Abidjan hosts nearly 50% of the Ivorian industries and mobilize more than 80% of the country’s customs revenue.