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Abidjan – Emerging Hub Port in Africa

Abidjan as an Emerging Hub Port in Africa

We have been quite active in Abidjan Port in recent months, and we’re excited to see this West African port coming into its own.  We’ve pulled out 10 interesting facts as well as challenges, on Abidjan as an emerging hub port in Africa.

abidjan emerging hub port

1. According to a recent report by PWC, Hub ports are “large regional container or break-bulk ports with high volumes (>2 million TEUs per annum) and direct shipments carried by very large vessels. In addition to serving a large hinterland, hubs have a predominance of transshipment volume and terminals that can load containers via a stack from one ship to another (e.g. Durban, Mombasa, Abidjan, and Djibouti) for transfer to other hub ports or smaller feeder ports.” Abidjan is thus already well placed to provide the services of a hub port.


2. This leading commercial West African port is the economic hub of the Ivory Coast, generating around 80% of its customs revenues and serves the surrounding landlocked countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

3. The Port of Abidjan, however, does not have a very long history – stretching back only as far as around 1950: following the opening of the Canal of Vridi in July 1950, the of Port of Abidjan was officially created and the functioning of its departments began on January 1, 1951. Since then, significant growth in traffic with an unequaled growth in infrastructure has meant that port has struggled to cope.

abidjan emerging hub port

4. The PWC report on “Strengthening Africa’s Gateways to Trade” highlights the challenges faced by Abidjan Port and others like it, and speaks about various expansion projects, such as the one launched in late 2015 to widen and deepen the canal leading to the main port.

5. One of the participants in the development of the port is port operator Bollore Ports. According to an article on their website, anticipating the productivity needs created by the country’s growth, they have undertaken a programme to modernize the container terminal at Abidjan, which started as far back as 2004. According to the article “Bolloré Ports, which has a workforce of nearly 500 on site, is continuously modernizing Abidjan’s container terminal in order to increase the yard’s container storage capacity. Eight new RTG have been introduced on the terminal’s n° 21 wharf, raising the total number of gantries to 16”.

Watch Bollore port corporate movie on Abidjan Terminal:

6. According to it’s website, the ABIDJAN TERMINAL is a limited liability company which was established within the framework of the concession agreement of the Container Terminal signed on 23 October with Abidjan Port Authority; it deals with the management and operation of Vridi container and has endowed Abidjan Terminal “with modern equipment and skilled workforce so as to be able to ensure services in accordance with the needs and expectations of customers and other stakeholders.”

7. Work is underway to build a second container terminal, also by Bollore Ports, to increase the port’s cargo capacity and host larger, new-generation ships, at a cost of around $1.2bn. This will help secure Abidjan Port’s place in the top 3 African Ports likely to emerge as a hub port in the near future. Container Terminal 2 will have a total wharf length of 1,100m, a draught of 18m and a container yard of 37.5ha – in total allowing an additional annual capacity of 1,500,000 TEUs to pass through Abidjan Terminal.

8. PWC’s analysis in their report shows that Abidjan is likely to emerge as a major hub in West Africa as “based on the degree of port centrality (shipping liner connectivity), the amount of trade passing through a port, and the size of the hinterland”.

abidjan emerging hub port

9. A challenge for Abidjan is the competition posed by Lagos-Appa, and Tema due to their better operational performance. Key to the success then of Abidjan as an emerging hub port would be finding operational efficiencies including an increase in turnaround time and creating better quality inland connections. Abidjan will also face future competition by North African and Mediterranean ports. PWC’s report highlights that “very few sub-Saharan ports can accommodate Post Panamax and Super Panamax vessels.”

abidjan emerging hub port

10. The Port of Abidjan is further engaged in the development of a new deep-water port namely San Pedro. This will help to further secure the port’s future as a major hub port for bulk export of minerals, oils, and gas.

11. Our a bonus and final point for Abidjan – emerging hub port –  is its willingness to be held up to international standard by virtue of its memberships of International Associations.

The Abidjan Port Authority is a full member of the following three associations:International Association of Cities and Ports (IACP) created in 1988 in Le Havre -France International Association for the Handling and Transport of goods (ICHCA International section Africa Canaries Islands)International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) created in 1955 in Los Angeles and whose secretariat is in Japan.


Abidjan Port

Abidjan – Emerging Hub Port