AIVP mission to Cameroon
Responding to an invitation extended by Mr Josué YOUMBA, Chief Executive of the National Port Authority (APN), Philippe Matthis, Chairman of AIVP and Olivier Lemaire, General Manager of AIVP, both travelled to Cameroon for the two national maritime and port days. The trip was an excellent opportunity to visit the country’s port facilities and discover the city-port cooperation projects in Douala and Kribi.
As the economic capital of Cameroon, with a population of some three million, Douala is one of Central Africa’s most dynamic cities. Its seaport on the Wouri estuary handles over 11 million tonnes of shipments and has now reached saturation point. In addition to handling general goods, Douala is also the largest timber port in the Central Africa region, with wood traffic passing through the port on the way to and from neighbouring countries. Indeed, Douala is the main seaport for both Chad and the Central African Republic, handling almost 80% of their traffic. The port is faced with certain limitations owing to its estuary location, including a depth of just nine metres and a position in the heart of the urban area, which restricts the development of logistics platforms. As a result of these constraints, the national authorities have sought to find alternatives capable of supporting the country’s economic growth.
Two sites have been identified, the Kribi complex to the south of Douala, and the Limbé complex to the west of the city. While proposals to develop the new port of Limbé are still at the feasibility study stage, the first phase of planned development at the port of Kribi, covering a total of 26,000 hectares and including industrial port zones, is already fully operational. The facilities are due to enter service in the second half of 2017. The port infrastructures developed by Chinese firm CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company) will eventually receive a new container terminal capable of handling some 350,000 TEUs. In addition to container traffic, the new port of Kribi will allow the growth of tropical wood exports and will be equipped with mineral and fruit terminals. While awaiting a new motorway link built to carry heavy goods traffic between the port and the rest of the country, there are plans for a cabotage arrangement with the port of Douala.
Kribi is already a popular seaside town with a rapidly growing tourist industry, and AIVP believes that the project’s attraction also lies in plans to create a new city that will eventually be home to 80,000 residents. The company Royal Haskoning intends to build an urban and industrial zone designed to act as an international economic showcase for a modern Cameroon. The first road networks are already in place, built by Chinese contractors. By 2035, the equatorial forest – which is currently omnipresent – will make way for this highly ambitious project, which AIVP will naturally be following with great interest.