Djibouti Plans New Container Terminal to Bolster Transport Hub Aspirations
Djibouti is in talks with French shipping company, CMA CGM to develop a new container terminal at an initial cost of $660 million as part of the tiny African country’s bid to expand into a sea and air transport hub for the continent.
Aboubakar Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA), commented recently that the authority hopes to award the concession in July. It was also prepared to buy out DP World’s stake in an existing container terminal to end a row with the Dubai port operator and avoid arbitration, he said.
Djibouti’s strategic location has led the United States, China, Japan and former colonial power France to build military bases there.
Its ports already serve as an entry
point for cargo which is then sent by smaller vessels to ports along Africa’s eastern coast, but it is now seeking to become a sea-air transshipment hub for the entire continent.
To do this, Hadi said DPFZA was also planning to construct a $350 million airport and expand Air Djibouti’s fleet of cargo aircraft.
The new container terminal project could break ground as early as September, 2018 with construction expected to take 24 months, Hadi said, speaking on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Once operational, Hadi said the port terminal would boast an annual capacity of 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), but subsequent expansion phases would bring that up to four million TEUs.