Ivory Coast Unveils Second Shipping Container Terminal, Enabling Abidjan to Become Regional Hub
Construction of the port of Abidjan’s second container terminal officially started in October 2020. After two years, the Ivory Coast has finally completed building the terminal, which is expected to boost the competitiveness of its main port by allowing large container ships to enter the port, increasing its capacity.
The second container terminal at the port of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast was officially launched this week.
According to authorities, the Cote d'Ivoire Terminal (CIT) project cost roughly $953 million, with 85 percent financed by China’s Eximbank and 15 percent by the Ivorian government. The terminal is operated through a joint venture of France's Bolloré Ports and APM Terminals, a unit of the Danish shipping company Moller-Maersk.
The port of Abidjan is a major regional transshipment hub at Treichville, in southern Abidjan. Located adjacent to the existing terminal, the CIT, with an area of 37.5 hectares, is the only terminal on Africa's west coast capable of accommodating vessels with a 16m draft. The terminal can receive large ships from Asia, Europe and the Americas that previously had to ship goods via South Africa, transferring them to smaller vessels to reach West Africa.
The new infrastructure also introduces several innovations, such as automated gate management and an online appointment system, which will facilitate the delivery and collection of containers in an efficient manner.
The CIT, with its advanced container-handling facilities, improves the competitiveness of the port by reducing the cost of port crossing and increasing its capacity by an additional 1.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit). The terminal is expected to allow Abidjan to raise container traffic to three million TEU, the port authorities said.
“We no longer serve as a second port. We are turning into a center point. In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” said Andre N’Doli, director of the terminal.
According to statements by Bolloré Ports, the second container terminal became operational on November 2 after successful tests in mid-October.
"We are proud of the completion of this major project, which will contribute to the long-term repositioning of the Port of Abidjan as a key logistics platform on the West African coast," the managing director of the autonomous port of Abidjan said.
The port of Abidjan is one of the busiest container ports in West Africa and already serves the needs of the Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer. With additional capacity provided by the CIT, it is expected to become a preferred gateway for surrounding landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, eventually turning the port into a regional shipping hub.
Previously, nearby landlocked nations relied on less optimal routes due to capacity restrictions at their domestic gateway terminals.
In recent years, the Ivory Coast has experienced a solid GDP growth rate, averaging 6-7% per year. This has resulted in considerable growth in the country’s import and export volumes. Therefore, the need to increase the port’s capacity was evident.