(Business in Cameroon) - The Autonomous Port of Douala (PAD) informs that the Administrative Court of the Littoral region, based in Douala, has just annulled the procedure for the allocation of Douala Bonabéri port’s container terminal concession. This means that the recent selection of Swiss Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) as the new concessionaire has been “suspended,” the authority explains. This decision is in line with the decision rendered, some weeks ago, by the supreme court.
The court decision follows a complaint by Douala International Terminal (DIT), subsidiary of Bolloré group that denounced irregularities in the process that led, in September 2019, to the selection of TIL as its successor following the international call for expressions of interest.
Indeed, at the end of the first phase of this process, the APMT Terminals BV/Bolloré SA group was ranked 7th out of 9 candidates. Challenging this ranking, the French group took the matter to Cameroonian and international courts. It also called for Cameroonian President Paul Biya’s intervention.
“This decision, which does not choose a new concessionaire, reinforces the Autonomous Port of Douala in the resumption of the activities of its terminal through the delegated management, created on December 6, 2019, by a resolution of the Board of Directors of the PAD, for the continuity of public services,” the port authority commented.
In the meantime, the PAD announces that it will take possession of the container terminal next December 31, which marks the end of DIT’s 15-year concession, for a renewable 1-year term. It also invites DIT to liquidate the rights of nearly 400 employees at the terminal.
Furthermore, it indicates that in application of the laws and regulations in force in the Republic of Cameroon, particularly Article 42 of the Labour Code, the end of DIT’s concession must lead to a transfer of all personnel to Régie du terminal à conteneurs [RTC, newly created by the PAD to replace DIT], unless the employee gives a different opinion.
For the time being, DIT is refusing to make any comment. Next December 31 thus seems to be a decisive date for this stormy end of the contract between Bolloré and the PAD.