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West Africa to build at least six 1m TEU ports over next decade

WEST Africa is expected to have at least six ports with capacities of 1 million TEU or more in operation over the next decade.

West Africa to build at least six 1m TEU ports over next decade
11 November 2015 - 19:31

West Africa to build at least six 1m TEU ports over next decade

WEST Africa is expected to have at least six ports with capacities of 1 million TEU or more in operation over the next decade.

This is mainly due to the growing competition between shipping lines in Europe and China to develop new logistics hubs in West Africa and serve growing container traffic in the region, according to IHS Media.

The six largest ports in the region handled about half of the 7.5 million TEU moving through the 18-country region, according to figures from maritime consultancy Drewry.

Lagos, Nigeria is the largest, having handled 1.5 million TEU last year, followed by Luanda, Angola, with 950,000 TEU; and Tema, Ghana, with 850,000 TEU.

Rounding out the top six are Pointe Noire, Congo; Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Dakar, Senegal.

Head of APM Terminals' Africa-Middle East region, Peder Sondergaard, said even more capacity will be needed to handle Africa trade growth, which has slowed because of the drop in global oil and other commodity prices, but is expected to rebound in the long-term. 

Deep-sea ports could add as much as 12 million TEU in capacity by 2020. Capacity in West Africa is roughly 10 million TEU at present.

"The key thing happening in West Africa now is the development of deep-water transshipment hubs like Lome and the new greenfield developments in Nigeria," senior analyst ports and terminals at Drewry Maritime Research, Neil Davidson, said. 

That's because most West Africa ports can only can handle vessels up to around 5,000 TEU.

While container shipping in West Africa has grown steadily over the years, the region's ports suffer from extremely poor utilisation rates and widespread overcapacity in the wrong areas.


The costs of each new mega-port project are in the region of US$1 billion or more for the majority of developments, contributing to the popularity of joint venture agreements between terminal operators. 

Lom?Container Terminal (LCT) is one of six new mega-port projects planned in the region that are expected to have capacity greater than 1 million TEU per year, according to figures from Drewry. 

Along with LCT, which will have a capacity of 1.9 million TEU, there are ambitious projects in development at Badagry and Lekki, Nigeria; Dakar, Tema and Abidjan II. The largest of these will be the Lekki port project under development by ICTSI and CMA CGM, which aims to add 2.5 million TEU.

The rival Badagry port project, under development by a consortium of APMT, TIL-MSC, Oando, Orlean Invest and Macquarie and also near Lagos, will add a further 2 million TEU.

Besides these three mega-ports Dakar, Tema and Abidjan II will add capacities of 1.6, 1 and 1.4 million TEU, respectively, in their first phase.

The ports of Kribi, Cameroon, and Pointe Noire are also expected to add a further 800,000 TEU and 600,00 TEU, respectively.

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