by Olivier Monnier
Multi-billion euro investment from companies, governments
French company’s biggest project with partners in Ghana
Bollore SA, the largest ports operator in Africa, said billions of euros of investment in upgrades to West African harbors by governments and companies will provide enough capacity for them to operate sufficiently for the next 10 years.
Countries in the region have been investing heavily in ports to cope with rising traffic in the region and to accommodate larger cargo vessels as economic growth increases. Bollore’s biggest projects on the continent include harbors in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, while the French company is working with partners on a $1 billion expansion of the Ghanaian port of Tema
The Ghana project is “well advanced” and should be completed by the middle of next year, Stanislas de Saint Louvent, deputy chief executive officer of Bollore Ports, said in an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. A 400 million-euro ($494 million) investment by the company and partner Maersk APM Terminals in a second container terminal in Abidjan, with input from China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., will be operational by mid-2020, he said. In Sierra Leone, Bollore is finalizing an extension to a container terminal in the capital Freetown that’s due to be finished in September.
Those three projects will take up the majority of Bollore’s Africa investment in ports over the next three years, De Saint Louvent said. The company has spent almost 3 billion euros in Africa over the past decade, including in railway and transportation as well as ports, Jerome Petit, Africa CEO for Bollore Logistics, said in the same interview.
Bollore has a near-monopoly on ports in West and Central Africa, holding concessions to operate container terminals in 15 nations including Guinea, Togo and Nigeria. The company also runs 25 dry ports including in landlocked nations such as Burkina Faso and Chad. The group’s market share in Africa is about 13 percent, according to the company’s website. It has operations in almost every country on the continent.
In Cameroon, the deep-sea port of Kribi, built by CHEC and mostly funded by the Eximbank of China, became operational last month and is partly run by Bollore. An expansion project is in the pipeline.
“The port capacity on the West African coast will be able to absorb volumes for the next ten years,” De Saint Louvent said.