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DP World Signs Deal to Build Port in Democratic Republic of Congo

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Published Dec 17, 2021 12:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

The mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will soon be able to independently handle its own seaborne exports and imports after signing a final agreement with DP World for the development of Banana Port on the Atlantic Ocean. 

Dubai-headquartered ports giant DP World announced that it has inked the collaboration agreement with the DRC government for the development of the country’s first deep-sea port, a development that paves the way for commencement of construction of Banana Port next year.

The facility will be located at the town of Banana on the country’s short 23 mile coastline. The $1 billion project is a landmark investment for DRC, which largely depends on seaports in neighboring Tanzania and Kenya to export its minerals and import goods.  

The signing of the agreement follows the signing of a term sheet earlier this year, which amended an initial contract signed in 2018. DP World holds exclusive rights to develop and manage the port over the term of a 30-year concession. The initial agreement also stipulated that DP World would own a 70 percent stake in the project, with the government owning the remaining 30 percent.

Initially, DP World will develop a 2,000-foot quay with 60 feet of depth alongside, capable of handling the largest container vessels in operation. The port will have a container handling capacity of about 450,000 TEU per year and a 75-acre yard to store containers.

“This agreement represents the vision to provide DRC with a modern, world-class port and logistics infrastructure to support the tremendous opportunities for trade in this country. The port will enhance the country’s export capabilities and give it affordable access to international markets,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World CEO.

Banana Port is expected to bring significant cost and time savings for DRC trade, as it will attract more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe. The resource-rich DRC depends on the central corridor through Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania and the northern corridor through Mombasa port to export its minerals. The DRC is a key source of copper, cobalt, tin, tungsten and tantalum for manufacturers, and it sends most of its production to China.

“This port will transform the DRC into a trade hub in the region, and in particular, will benefit Kongo Central, a province which already has a port facility, with the creation of jobs in addition to generating economic benefits and growth for our country,” said President Félix Tshisekedi.