New Ivory Coast container terminal commences next phase of development

New Ivory Coast container terminal commences next phase of development
The terminal is expected to be operational by the end of 2021

The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has signed a contract for the construction of Abidjan’s second container terminal, known as Côte d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), which is expected to become operational at the end of 2021.

The new terminal will be operated as a joint venture between Bolloré and APM Terminals (APMT) under a 20-year concession, at the end of which the assets will be returned to port authority Port Autonome d’Abidjan (PAA).

Bolloré and APMT will invest €400m (US$473m) in the construction of the terminal and equipment and, once completed, the facility will employ more than 400 people at its go-live with a similar number of people being employed for its construction.

Located adjacent to the existing Abidjan Terminal, the new terminal aims to enhance the port’s competitiveness and add an additional 1.2m teu annual capacity in its first phase of development.

In recent years, Côte d’Ivoire has seen a solid GDP growth rate averaging 6-7% per annum which has resulted in significant growth in import and export volumes.

With the additional capacity provided by CIT, the terminal and the Port of Abidjan will be able to position itself as a preferred gateway for surrounding landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Koen De Backker, managing director of CIT, said: “Shipping lines have started to deploy very large container vessels on the trades to/from West Africa that need deep water facilities and modern terminals able to handle them with much higher productivity.”

CIT was first formed in 2013 and the first phase of the project, which consisted of the deepening and widening of the Vridi Canal access channel, was handled by the PAA.

More than 45 ha of land was also reclaimed for the creation of the new CIT and an adjacent roll-on roll-off (ro-ro facility).

An $80m expansion at the existing Abidjan Terminal was already completed in 2015, increasing the facility’s annual container capacity from 800,000 teu to 1.5m teu.

Upon completion, CIT will have a maximum draft of -18 m and its 1,100 m quay will be able to accommodate vessels up to -18 m.

The existing Abidijan Terminal can currently accommodate vessels up to -11.5 m draft.

CIT will have a rail yard with two tracks of 300 m each, as well as reefer plugs for up to 1,100 containers, and a contract was signed in August 2020 for the supply of new equipment.

The contract included the supply of six post-panamax gantry cranes, 12 electric rubber-tyred gantry (E-RTG) cranes and 36 tugmusters.

Additional equipment is already included in future plans, once the terminal approaches the agreed volume threshold.

De Backker added: “A more efficient and competitive port, with latest generation handling equipment and deep draft, will help reduce the cost of handling cargo, and fuel trade growth and transhipment volumes.”

Significant transhipment volumes destined for Guinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone (Freetown) and Liberia (Monrovia) are expected.