Port of Banana in DR Congo: Foundation Stone to Be Laid In Jan 2022
The laying of the first stone for the construction of the deep-water port of Banana in DR Congo should take place before the end of January 2022, according to Cherubin Okende, the Congolese Minister of Transport, Ways of Communication, and Accessibility.
Mr. Okende announcement comes approximately a month after DP World, a world leader in global supply chain solutions specializing in cargo logistics, port terminal operations, maritime services, free trade zones, and the Government of DR Congo signed two new agreements (a shareholders’ agreement and a concession contract) in December 2021, for the development of the Port of Banana project.
The new agreements were signed following the signing of a term sheet that summarized the agreed amendments to the initial contract signed back in 2018. Reportedly, some of the clauses in the 2018 contract were not in favor of the central African country.
According to the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF), there were suspicions of corruption with regard to the constitution of the shareholding of the company responsible for development, construction, and operation of the future port.
Implementation and expectations for the Port of Banana project
Initially, DP World intends to develop a 600-meter quay with an 18-meter draft capable of handling the largest vessels in operation, a 30-hectare yard to store containers. Featuring the latest technology and equipment upon completion, the port will have a container handling capacity of about 450,000 TEUs per year.
The stakeholders expect the port to bring significant cost and time savings for the Central African country’s trade and attract more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe.
They also expect it to directly benefit the Kongo Central province in terms of economic development by attracting foreign direct investment to the surrounding area and stimulating local trade.
The initial agreement for the Banana deep-water port project dates back to 2018 when a contract was signed between the UAE port operator and former Congolese head of state, Joseph Kabila. According to the contract, DP World would set up a joint venture with 70% control, and the government of DRC holding a 30% share, to manage and invest in the Port of Banana.
The first phase of the project, with an estimated initial investment of US$ 350, would include a 600-meter quay and 25-hectare yard extension with a container capacity of 350,000 teu and 1.5m tonnes for general cargo.
The construction works were set to start in 2018 and are expected to take approximately 24 months to complete.
May 2021: DRC, DP World revise initial agreement for Banana deepwater port project
The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, and the regional director for Africa of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) port operator Dubai Ports (DP) World had a discussion session on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, which focused on the readjustment of the relative convention for the construction of the Banana deep water port.
The initial agreement for the Banana deep-water port project in central Kongo dates back to 2018 when a contract was signed between DP World and former Congolese head of state, Joseph Kabila. According to the contract the UAE company would own a 70% stake in the project, with the government owning the remaining 30%.
Expected to begin the same year (2018) and be operational within two years, the project could also be subject to a 20-year extension.
The aftermath of the recent discussions
The revised version of the original agreement (which expired on March 23, last year) reconsiders the interests of each party to the contract and helps to rebalance their respective benefits.
According to the Congolese president “this approach was dictated by the need to readjust the Agreement with the Emirati company DP World Africa Logistics NV (DP World) to his vision so that this project can develop capacities of the Democratic Republic of Congo in terms of trade and logistics while supporting the country’s growth and playing a key role in regional integration”.
The future autonomous port of Banana, whose concession had been entrusted to the Emirati group DP World for 30 years of operation, should require an investment estimated at US$ 1bn. Upon completion, it will be the first deep-water port in the central African country.
July 14th, 2021: Construction of deep-water Port of Banana in DR Congo to start soon
The long-awaited construction of the proposed deep-water Port of Banana in the Democratic Republic of Congo might start soon according to Félix Tshisekedi, the President of the Central African Republic.
Tshisekedi made the revelation during a recently held council of ministers meeting. He said, “The clauses, which were to detriment of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the development of the project have been revised in accordance with my expectations.
In the coming days, they will be translated into the Amendment that will be signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) port operator Dubai Ports (DP) World so that the construction works of this strategic and vital port facility start as soon as possible.”
This news comes barely two months after the Congolese president and the regional director for Africa DP World had a discussion session that was focused on the readjustment of the initial agreement for the implementation of the project in question.