(Ecofin Agency) - More than XOF800 billion ($1.4 billion) will be invested to extend and modernize Abidjan’s autonomous port in Côte d’Ivoire by 2020, the prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly indicates.
In the framework of that project, Vridi canal inaugurated last February 21 has been resized. The infrastructure is estimated at $255,575,018 (about XOF150 billion), 85% funded by Eximbank China and 15% by the port.
Thanks to this infrastructure, Abidjan port will be able to receive all-size conventional container ships with a 16-meter draft while previously it was 12-meters and the max size of the ship it could receive before was 260-meters. This new configuration will also help reduce waiting times due to the canal being unable to receive some ships. It should also enhance the attractivity of this port.
Abidjan now wants to be a regional hub
During the inauguration of the canal, authorities expressed their ambitions for Abidjan port that takes care of 85% of international exchanges and provides 75% of customs revenues. Along with other large construction projects among which is the construction of a container terminal, Abidjan wants to become a regional hub.
"The enlargement and the deepening of Vridi canal helps reposition Abidjan port as a sub-regional hub in the maritime transport sector. These works will inexorably impact the port’s activities that will now be able to receive latest-generation vessels,” Amadou Gon Coulibaly said.
“Via those infrastructures, we want to be the main port on the African Atlantic coast between Tangier and Cape Town”, Hien Sié, the port’s managing director, declared.
Formerly the second container port on the African Atlantic coast after Lagos port in Nigeria, it was overtaken by Tema port (Ghana) some years ago and by Lomé port (Togo) in 2015, according to data from Dutch maritime analyst Dynamar.
With these important investments, Abidjan is thus trying to regain control of a market where the competition is getting tougher. For this purpose, it also has to tend to some problems like the high fees in Abidjan port. Indeed, according to the World Bank, the cost of a container transiting via Abidjan port is 59% higher at exports and 44% higher at imports.
Borgia Kobri & Zeinab Dosso