Cyrus Ngo’o, the Managing Director of the Port Authority of Douala (PAD), launched an international public call for expressions of interest last November 2 to select investors for the expansion of the port of Douala.
The initiative is aimed at attracting local and foreign partners as part of the construction of port and urban infrastructure planned in the development master plan (DMP) and the project database of the PAD. Companies have until March 31, 2023, to submit interests.
Validated in December 2019, the DMP is designed to triple the capacity of the port of Douala from nearly 13 million tons to 45 million by 2050. Phase 1 will focus on modernizing and optimizing the infrastructure of the Bonabéri site and phase 2 will expand the port to the new deepwater site of Manoka in the 6th district.
Specifically, the first phase consists of the removal of wrecks, dredging in various areas, the commissioning of new oil and timber loading stations, the extension of the container terminal, and the construction of new docks, terminals, stores, housing, and offices. It is scheduled for completion in 2035 and is expected to increase the port’s capacity to 23 million tons per year by 2030. The expansion project, which is expected to be completed in 2050, consists of the construction of four container berths capable of handling the world’s largest ships, a grain terminal, and two stations for bulk minerals and hydrocarbons. Communication routes, administrative buildings and logistics areas, tourism and leisure facilities will also be built.
The first projects of Phase 1 (removal of wrecks, dredging in different areas, commissioning of the new oil station, and extension of the container terminal…) have been completed or are underway, we learned. They are financed by equity or debt. But, “given the urgency and complexity of these projects, and the importance of the investments to be made, the approach of alternative financing is the chosen option by the PAD,” says the port authority.
Profiles sought after
“The implementation of such big projects cannot be done solely on equity, considering the current financial situation of the state. That is why we are looking for partners who can help raise the necessary funding, finalize the studies of port projects, realize the infrastructure and superstructure, operate them over an agreed period for their return on investment and return them after upgrading to the PAD,” a reliable source said.
To date, only one public-private partnership has been signed. It was inked on March 31 between the PAD and the British company Kharam Trading Holding (KTH). The agreement provides for the construction on the right bank of the Wouri River of a 900-meter-long dock and a 42-hectare bulk terminal. Works are expected to last five years and the private side is expected to provide CFA233 billion. According to the agreement, after 25 years of operation, the company’s revenues should amount to CFA281 billion and those of the State (PAD and taxes) to CFA258 billion.
Before launching the international public call for expressions of interest, the PAD CEO received the German Deputy Foreign Minister, Katja Keul, in Douala on November 3. On this occasion, he called on his guest to help attract German investors. He also opened discussions last September in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with World Crane Services (WCS) and DP World, two global giants in the port sector.