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Friday, 16 March 2018

DP World may develop a US$1.2bn deepwater port in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to documents published by a Senegalese whistle-blowing organisation.

An agreement between DP World and the Transport Ministry was signed in February 2017, giving the company exclusive rights to negotiate a contract to build and operate the port at Banana on DRC's Atlantic coast, reported Bloomberg.

The accord, released by the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa on Friday, calls for the creation of a company majority-held by DP World.

Minority government stake

DP World is "willing to offer a minority equity stake in the port-operating company" to DRC's government, according to a letter sent by DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem to president Joseph Kabila in October 2016, and made public by the organisation, known by the French acronym PPLAAF.

The country's existing ports at Matadi and Boma are inland up the Congo River and are incapable of handling traffic from conventional ocean-going cargo liners because of a lack of capacity and draught, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study of the country's infrastructure. Consequently, the nation relies on transshipments of cargo from Pointe Noire in the neighbouring Republic of Congo.

Deepening the antiquated sea port at Banana would provide additional shipping capacity to the mineral-rich nation at a cost of as much as $2 billion and may take as long as 10 years to complete, PWC said.

No comment

DP World is "always looking out for the right opportunities," but it "doesn't comment specifically on any unless there is something to announce," a spokesman said in an emailed response to questions by Bloomberg. The spokesman declined to confirm the authenticity of the documents published by PPLAAF.

DP World proposed establishing a separate management firm that would earn 15% of gross revenue generated by the port, according to an annex attached to the sultan's letter to Kabila. The entity would be controlled by DP World and a private Congolese company, with the parties owning 60% and 40% respectively, it said.

March 6, 2018 by PortStrategy


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