Celebrations at the Port of Mboro

The container terminal became officially operational with the signature of the concession contract last 25 July.

The day was long awaited : last 25 July marked the signature of the concession contract for the operation and development of the container terminal of the port of Kribi.  Actually, in the middle of the space which sets the limit between the forest and the sea, at Mboro, a long-forgotten remote village, it has been months that the iron and concrete infrastructure was waiting to achieve the core of its economic and social scope. A presidential achievement which rightfully deserves the grandeur it has been granted ever since and the majesty conferred by its completion. The ambition was great from the onset: make this new environment the reference point that will be the backbone of the Cameroonian and subregional economy in the forecoming years.

Actually, there lies the heart of the equation for  this structure presented as one of the major projects of the seven-year “Greater Achievements” of President Paul Biya. As a matter, the Port of Kribi intends to become a vital port and logistics hub in the Central African subregion and even in the rest of the Gulf of Guinea. In this regard, the construction and dimensions of the infrastructure were drawn accordingly.

With its state-of-the-art components, namely its 16-meter quays, the great Port of Mboro can accommodate vessels of groundbreaking size in Central and Western Africa, that can reach up to 400 meters and carry around 100,000 tons of products. It has modern and efficient tools, namely as concerns navigation aid and handling. In accordance with the national port legislative and regulatory framework, the Port of Kribi recruited reputed private operators with international expertise so as to ensure the provision of quality services. The combination of quality infrastructure and know-how of these operators should warrants that vessels and goods in transit will receive services complying with international standards.

In addition to the above-mentioned assets, the central positioning of the Port of Kribi in the Gulf of Guinea should help get traffic flows from and to landlocked countries. Conscious of the competitive environment that singles out the West African coastline, the Cameroonian authorities embarked on tax, legal and customs reforms so as to foster a conducive environment for the development of transit and transshipment traffic.

It is worth mentioning that having Cameroon’s littoral being serviced by large capacity vessels, as it was the case last 22 June with the anchoring of Medi Lisbon, a 50,000-ton bulk carrier, will surely disrupt the market of maritime freight bound and from hinterland. Edgar-Alain MEBE NGO’O, Minister of Transport, underscored this situation when presiding over the anchoring ceremony. Hence, operators should enjoy reduced costs and direct access to new destinations.

It is a common fact that free circulation of information is a key factor to ensuring the competitiveness of a port. In this regard, the Port of Kribi acquired an information system that enables users to access relevant real time information so as to optimize the fluid traffic of vessels and goods. Furthermore, this tool will ensure the attainment of remarkable performance with regards to security, safety and reliability. Still in the vein to offer comprehensive services to economic operators, a space close to the Port is being developed. The area will serve for value-added logistics activities and light industries. The Port will therefore be able to offer the rental of a comprehensive range of warehouses, offices or pieces of undeveloped land.

Final round of talks on the terminal

From last 11 to 13 July, the conference room of La Marée hotel held the last round of negotiations on the nature, the form and the contents of the concession contract that bind for the 25 coming years the Port Authority of Kribi (PAK) and the Groupement Kribi Container (KCT). The three-day working session was presided by the General Manager of the Port Authority of Kribi, was attended by representatives of each of the constitutive groups of KCT: Olivier de Noray of Bolloré Transports & Logistics, Marc Riondel of CMA-CGM and Edward Xu of CHEC. Talks focused essentially on the adaptation conditions of contract documents that will bind both parties, the chosen legal framework (which turned from “public-private partnership” to a “concession contract”), while making sure that the structuring components of the specifications assigned to the successful bidder are not questioned. Thereafter, talks equally delved on the next steps that will lead to the enforcement and operation of the contract, in conditions in line with the interests of each party. Both interlocutors left the meeting satisfied with the work done, which was predictive of the effective signature of the contract per se and this took place a fortnight after at Mboro.

The choice of Paul BIYA

The last part of the plan was revealed in a letter dated last 11 July which led to the revision and signature of the concession contract between the PA and the KTC Group last 25 July. In this letter, the Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic informs the Secretary General of the Prime Minister’s Office of the “high instructions” of the President of the Republic concerning the commissioning of the port platform of Kribi, namely the container and the multipurpose terminals. In detail, Paul Biya instructs the Government, especially regarding the container terminal, to “revise the contractual regime so as to adopt, instead of the partnership contract suggested initially, a concession contract…”

A few comments

Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, Minister of Transport

The Port of Kribi should become a competitive port
« The  signing of the concession contract really marks the beginning of the effective operation of the Port Authority of  Kribi. With the signature, the President of the Republic brings about a major momentum to a process that will lead Cameroon towards emergence. For 25 years, the contractor wil be paying entry fees and fixed and variable of 1,300 billion fcfa and will invest more than 84 billion  fcfa. The goal is to make the Port of Kribi competitive.”

Olivier de Noray, Managing Director of Ports and Terminals of Bolloré Group

We will work to achieve good results
« We need three months to settle an administrative service. The deadline equally applies to the installation of our equipment. We will also be through with the recruitment of the staff. Yet, if we can achieve all these tasks as fast as possible, we will not hesitate. We work for the emergence of Cameroon. We have a 25-year contract which will surely be renewed considering the task ahead of us. »

Contents of the contract

  • Duration: 25 years
  • Mission of the contractor: finance, operate develop, maintain the container terminal of the Port of Kribi
  • Composition of the terminal conceded: 350-meter quay with facilities and equipment for a maximal duration of 60 months (Phase 1), and then a 700-meter quay with related facilities and equipment (Phase 2).
  • Shareholding of  Kribi Conteneurs Terminal: capital of 52.480 billion FCFA broken down as follows: Kribi Terminal Holding 60.45% , Wide Resources Limited 20% and the Government of Cameroon 19.55%
  • Local staff (Cameroonian) will represent 80% of the manpower of the terminal for the duration of the contract
  • Other commitment of the contractor: start of activities 3 months after  signing the concession contract
  • Follow-up of the contract: it will done by a Follow-up Committee. In addition, the PAK is a member at the Board of Directors of the operating company with no share
  • Who is the Group Bolloré/CMA-CGM/CHEC? It is made up of the following three companies: CHEC (Chinese construction company specialized in building port, road and airport infrastructures), CMA-CGM (third global ship owner) and Bolloré (main player of the national logistics chain which operates more than 16 terminals in Africa)

Benefits and prospects

  • Entry fees: 77 M€ (50 bn FCFA)
  • Fixed annual fee: 33 M€ (22 bn FCFA)/year
  • Variable fee: 23% of the annual turnover made by the operating company
  • 50% parking penalties paid by terminal users, payable to the conceding authority
  • Exceptional fee: 250 million FCFA paid annually from year 2 to year 25 of the contract
  • CARPA expertise fee: 250 million FCFA payable during the first year of the contract
  • Investment of the contractor: about 17.6 million euros in complementary investment and around 137 million USD in firm investment. The contractor contributes to the funding of the construction of the second phase of the Port. It assumes the matching fund, that is, 15% of the total cost of the works to be carried out by the Government.