- Language Tips
Handling 90 percent of foreign trade, Port of Pointe Noire is a vital part of Congo's economy
With a history that dates back to 1939, the autonomous deepwater Port of Pointe Noire is a vital part of Congo's economy, with more than 90 percent of the country's foreign trade passing through it.
Situated 150 kilometers from the mouth of the River Congo in a natural harbour off the Gulf of Guinea, the port is currently undergoing a full renovation of its infrastructure at a cost of a $1 billion, as part of the government's priority investment program. Funding has been secured from the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank, and the Development Bank of Central African States. The French group Bollor pledged to invest 570 million euros ($722 million) over 27 years from 2009 becoming the concessionaire of the Congo container terminal.
The funding has been committed so that the port can become the benchmark deepwater port for Central Africa, acting both as a major transshipment hub, and as the main port for import and export traffic along the Congo Basin.
It will also open up the principal corridors of the sub region, serving the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Central Africa and the north of Angola. Organized into three sites, Pointe Noire's docking infrastructure consists of a commercial port, with among others, the Dock G of 15 meters depth and that should spread on 800 m long at the end of 2013. This dock will be able to host the biggest ship in the world. The docks can handle traffic of up to 6.8 million tons a year in parallel of the Djno Oil Port, for crude oil loading.
It also boasts open storage capacity of 66 hectares for the commercial port, among which 22 hectares are dedicated to containers. This capacity should rise to 32 hectares in two years. There is also a cement silo, a wheat silo, wine facilities, storage tanks for hydrocarbons and related products and storage tanks for vegetable oil. As well as piloting and towage, the port offers ship maintenance services.
Private and public partners continue to invest modernization and expansion projects.
The port management is eager for Congo to become a platform for moving goods around the region.
In 2011, they welcomed 450,000 containers, they expect 500,000 in 2012 and the objective for 2020 is to receive 1 million containers that will use the road and train network to reach countries like Gabon, Cameroon, DRC, Angola and the Republic of Central Africa.
At the moment, the port has 350 employees, and a further 6,000 working in port-related activities. With the traffic expected to double over the next few years, these numbers will grow.
The aim is to participate in the creation of a dispatching port within the region.
Ideally, huge ships from all over the world will arrive in Pointe Noire and the containers will be loaded onto smaller ships to supply other ports, such as Douala or Libreville, ports that don't have the same infrastructural capacity. We are working very hard to make the port more competitive and efficient," claims the administration.
High Security Measures
The port takes security extremely seriously and works with its partners to improve security measures. Since 2009, the Conseil Congolais des Convoyeurs has implemented the GUMAR: a single maritime counter. The GUMAR system simplifies the administrative process and allows officials to identify goods passing through the port quickly and efficiently, thanks to a sophisticated scanning device.
The computerized system presents many excellent advantages, both for the users and the government: the transit in Pointe Noire becomes more attractive because it takes less time to check goods, costs are lower and there is much less chance of theft.
The system promotes and secures the customs takings, to lay the foundation of e-business and to lift the physical and non-physical barriers to the promotion of trade.
InFocus provided the story
(China Daily 06/28/2012 page18)