More than the heart of Ivory Coast
The port of Abidjan is a regional economic engine par excellence. It is now investing substantially in its infrastructure, seeking to return throughput to the levels of previous years. The port authority is also hosting the Intermodal Africa trade fair in November.
If Ivory Coast was a human being, then the port of Abidjan would be its heart, supplying the country with goods, not blood. 70% of the country’s GDP is directly or indirectly involved with the port; 90% of its customs tariffs are generated by the hub. Abidjan’s maritime gateway handled around 21.5 million t of goods last year, making it the largest in West Africa and one of the continent’s biggest hubs. Just a few years throughput in the centre was far higher, however. Now the port authority, under the leadership of director general Hien Sié, is investing in renewing its infrastructure to return to those throughput levels.
More space and new terminals
The most important project is to extend and dredge the Vridi Canal, to enable larger ships to call at Abidjan. The construction of the 370 m wide and 2.7 km long canal in 1950 fulfilled a precondition to build a port in Abidjan at all.
Other projects under construction include a new ro-ro terminal and a second container facility. The port city’s important fishing industry, which handled 639,000 t of fish last year, is also being equipped with a new centre. Most of these projects are due to be completed over the next few years. In order to be able to drive the port’s growth forward more effectively, the managers are also planning to reclaim land in the lagoon.
The port of Abidjan is not only of prime importance to Ivory Coast, but also plays a central role for neighbours Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Guinea. About 1.2 million t of goods were transported to and from Burkina Faso in 2016, for example, which also increases demand for intermodal activities in Abidjan. It thus does not come as a surprise that logistics specialist will converge on the city at the end of November for the Intermodal Africa exhibition and conference. The two-day event features 30 speakers addressing topical issues and the challenges of the future for this dynamic port and region.