The Port of Djibouti has unveiled a huge expansion programme which aims to cement the port as a transhipment hub for the whole of Africa.
At present the port is the major transhipment port for the East African countries. But the plan is to develop transhipment traffic of which there is more than 10 million passing through the region, but not via Djibouti.
Saad Omar Guelleh, general manager, Port of Djibouti, said that the throughput of Djibouti has grown from 1.5 million tonnes in 2010 to 5 million tonnes. He said that the port has greatly gained as a regional hub in the years 2012/13 thanks to an agreement with China Merchant Holding International (MHCI) which took a share in the new cooperation Ports of Djibouti SA in January 2013.
“Our challenge is to win these (new) volumes in a five-year plan whereby the new railway line Djibouti – Ethiopia will greatly help to reduce costs and improve traffic more efficiently at competitive prices,” he said.
Two Chinese companies are currently building the new 756km electrified railway link, of which 420km has been completed. It will further improve the connection of the port to the landlocked East African countries.
Djibouti’s new port expansion programme will include work at the Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP) which will be upgraded to four terminals for the handling of vehicles and rolling cargoes. The investment, jointly provided by Djibouti Port SA (DPSA) and China Merchant Holding (CMHC) will amount to $590 million.
There will also be a new facility at the Port of Tadjourah mainly for bulk commodities particularly potash an investment amounting to $160 million. The first stage of the new port will become operational by March 2016.
At the Port of Ghoubet there will be a new terminal for the export of salt from Lac Assal with a throughput of 6 million tonnes, constructed for $64 million. Operations will commence in December 2015.
A new livestock terminal will be created at Damerjog which will be built with an investment of $70 million and should start operations from the end of 2016.
All of the new investments will strengthen the existing facilities at the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), the joint venture between DP World and the Djibouti government.
“We are on a good path and we have a great partner behind us especially Ethiopia and all the other African countries. Djibouti is the Singapore of Africa,” he said.