New port infrastructure is an essential part of the government’s development vision.

A loan of US$675.5m, recently approved by the Chinese EXIM bank, is to fund the second phase of construction at the Kribi Deep Seaport, coming as a major boost to the Vision 2035 document, which seeks to unlock mining potential, create jobs and enhance trade.

According to Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, cited by CAJNews, “we are not expected to pay any interest on the money within the next seven years…the port will be a centre of trade for the entire region, and will service landlocked Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).”

A construction contract was awarded earlier in August 2015 to a consortium comprising Bolloré Africa Logistics, CMA CGM, and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), for the construction of a new container terminal. It is hoped the facility will ease congestion at Douala port, reported trade and container news service JOC.

The planned second phase of construction will involve a new 1,102-metre quay, two container berths, two hydrocarbon berths and two bulk cargo berths; it is expected to take 42 months to complete. According to Motaze a third phase will involve the construction of 12 more berths in the northern part of the port.

The Kribi port is intended to fill the gaps at the Douala port; the new port will be to a depth of 16 metres, whereas the Douala port is just 7 metres deep, having to be dredged every year to enable large ships to dock. The Kribi port will accommodate vessels of up to 100,000 tons, up from 15,000 at Douala.

Container and car shipping to Douala, Cameroon

Douala Port – Ascope Shipping, UK

An estimated 95% of Cameroon’s exports pass through Douala; one shipping employee commented that it is “one of the most disastrous port sites in the world” with chronic congestion and a lack of modern equipment, reported the the Africa Report.

Additionally, the facility will cater for minerals such as iron ore and bauxite in the south east of the country. Australia’s Sundance Resources are to build an iron-processing plant for the ore it will mine at Mbalam and Nabeba, which are located near the border between Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

There is project underway to develop the 510km railway from Mbalam to Kribi for the iron ore export. The contract for the railway project was awarded to Portuguese company Mota-Engil SGPS. The Portuguese firm is also planning a further 71km stretch of railway from Mbalam to Nabeba in the Republic of Congo.

Société Camerounaise des Dépôts Pétroliers and Canadian firm Blaze Energy plan to build an oil storage station at Kribi. French company GDF-Suez and Cameroon’s Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures are working on plans for a liquefied natural gas plant.

Since 2009 Rio Tinto has planned to build an  US$9bn alumina refinery at Kribi with a capacity to produce 1.2m tonnes per year. More than 30 companies in the metals, petrochemicals, cement, agro-industrial and logistics sectors have requested land for projects in Kribi, claimed the Africa Report.

The port is a central part of the Chinese ‘Silk Road Initiative‘ in Africa, with the Kribi port spearheading the projects, alongside railway projects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Angola, according to the Financial Express. The port is a key component of Cameroon’s Vision 2035, which aims to establish Cameroon as an emerging country over the next 25-30 years.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue.5, Pp. 20857A–20858A

Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue. 6, Pp. 20893C–20894B

Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.51, Issue.5, Pp. 20424A–20426B

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