(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon shortlisted 4 port operators for the concession on Douala Port’s container terminal. This follows the international public call for expression of interest issued on January 18, 2018, to replace the actual operator Bolloré-APMT whose concession will end in 2019. During the submission period, ten companies expressed their interests.
Let’s note that out of the 4 selected companies, two have never operated ports in Africa. Those two are namely Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) and Singapore Authority (PSA International).
Even though Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), a Hong-Kong based company, has a global network, it has never operated ports in Africa. The company (owned at 80% by CK Hutchison Holdings and at 20% by the Singaporean PSA International) is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a territory usually presented as a tax haven. For fifteen years now, it has been one of the world’s leading container terminal’s operator with a strong presence in Asia.
As for Port of Singapore Authority (PSA International), it operates 28 ports in 16 countries in Asia, Europe and America. The actual volume it manages is estimated at 11 million EVP containers and more than 66 kilometers of docks.
Apart from those two companies, there is also the present concession holder DIT ( a consortium formed by Bolloré Africa Logistics (BAL) and APM Terminals.
BAL which also operates the container terminal in Kribi deepwater port, thanks to a concession with the French CMA CGM and the Chinese CHEC, has already operated 16 container terminals in Africa while APMT Maersk is present in 23 countries and manages 42 dry ports in Africa and in the Middle East.
The last shortlisted candidate is Dubaï Ports World (Dp-World), the third port operator in the world operating 49 terminals in the world. It was operating in four African countries namely, Algeria, Djibouti, Mozambique, and Senegal. On February 22, 2018, however, its agreement for Doraleh port (operating in Djibouti since 2006) was canceled by the government.
“DP World never really wanted to develop Doraleh (which was operating at 40% of its capacity) and favor the emergence of the Dubai port Jebel Ali. It just wanted to restrict the competition by controlling and limiting operations to the local market and Ethiopia even though this may discourage largest shipowners who would avoid our ports. It did the same thing in Aden, Berbera and elsewhere. This is Malthusianism for its sole profit. We are not accepting it”, explained Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti, to justify the cancellation of the concession agreement with this operator which eyes the container terminal in Douala port.
Brice R. Mbodiam