Port of Antwerp Invests in West Africa
The port of Antwerp and the port of San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa renewed their collaboration with the signing of a new agreement on September 1. San Pedro, the leading cacao port in the world, aims to develop at regional level to become a logistics hotspot for handling commodities such as fertilizers, cashew nuts and cacao, among other things.
Work will start next year on the construction of a logistics platform under the name of San Pedro Logistique.
Part of the capital cost will be financed by Port of Antwerp International (PAI), the consultancy and investment subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority. While PAI has already been active in West Africa, this will be the first time it has made a financial investment in the region.
The Belgian group Sea-Invest, which already operates in Côte d’Ivoire in the port of Abidjan, will take the lead on the development of the logistics platform. Construction of which is scheduled to begin early next year.
The overall price ticket for the project is 5.5 million euros ($6.1 million), 35 percent of which will be financed by PAI. In exchange the latter will have two directorships in the company behind San Pedro Logistique. The platform is expected to be operational around the summer period of next year.
The ports of San Pedro and Antwerp signed an initial collaboration agreement in 2011. Since then the freight volume handled by San Pedro has expanded to 4.9 million tons annually. Additionally, a master plan for development of the port has been drawn up and logistics zones have been developed. This latest collaboration represents a renewal of the initial agreement for a further five years.
In addition to supplying the necessary technical expertise for the development, the agreement also specifies that APEC, the training center for the port of Antwerp, will hold two training seminars per year for San Pedro port personnel.
“This is the first concrete investment by the port of Antwerp in West Africa,” says Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority. “With this clear commitment we are emphasizing our belief in the potential of San Pedro. Its geographical location and its connections with Liberia, Guinea and Mali represent enormous potential benefits for Antwerp which is already the market leader for West Africa.”