Cameroon – Transport: Another postponement of the commissioning of the Kribi deep-water port

Contrary to the promise made by Patrice Melom, the Director General of the Kribi  Port Authority of (KPA), in replying to a question from the head of the European Union delegation in Cameroon on 1 December 2016, the first commercial vessel will not dock at Kribi’s deepwater port in the first quarter of 2017.

After this umpteenth announcement of its commissioning, the most important port infrastructure in Cameroon, whose work has been completed for 2 years, continues to rust.

The two tugs acquired and received by the State of Cameroon since 2014 will be sent for technical revision in the coming days, as they have long been stagnant at the port. At the origin of the blocking of the commissioning of this port infrastructure, which is technically ready to be exploited for months, the delays observed in signing contracts with the consortia awarded concessions for the management of multipurpose terminals and containers. These operators have been known since August 2015.

If the Dutch company Smit Lamnaco, the contractor for the contract for towing and haulage, has been contracting since 2 February, almost 2 years after its recruitment by the State of Cameroon in April 2015; The Necotrans-KPMO (polyvalent terminal) consortium and Bolloré-CMA CGM-CHEC (container terminal), both recruited since August 2015, continue to wait for the government’s anointing to start operating on their respective terminals.

The signing of the concession contract for the management of the container terminal, scheduled for 2 February, has been postponed sine die. For unclear reasons.

For now, the management of the KPA is regularly prowling the equipment of this port platform, conducting simulation operations of arrivals and departures of ships. This, while waiting for these ships, for the moment still virtual, to become real.

Built by the Chinese company CHEC, thanks to financing from Eximbank China, the deep water port of Kribi has 650 m of platforms, of which 350 m for the container terminal and 265,5 m for the multipurpose terminal. The two terminals have respective capacity of 300,000 Twenty Equivalent Unit (TEU) per year and 1.2 million tonnes per year.

The second phase of construction of this infrastructure includes the extension of the 700 m container terminal to 1050 m, as well as the construction of mineral and hydrocarbon terminals. With a 15.5 m channel, this port infrastructure, which will accommodate ships with a draft of 16m, is presented by experts as the best on the West African coast.

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