CHEC Begins Major Port Expansion Project in Côte d’Ivoire, Project Envisions New Transshipment Gateway to Western Africa

On Octo­ber 7, 2020, state-owned com­pa­ny Chi­na Har­bour Engi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny (CHECbegan con­struc­tion of the $470.4 mil­lion Côte d’Ivoire Ter­mi­nal (CIT), a sec­ond con­tain­er ter­mi­nal in Côte d’Ivoire’s port of Abid­jan that is expect­ed to ele­vate sub­stan­tial­ly the intake capac­i­ty of the west African port and trans­form it into a major trans­ship­ment gate­way for the region.  Once oper­a­tional, CIT will report­ed­ly become the only port in West Africa capa­ble of han­dling ves­sels up to 14,000 TEU.

In its first phase of devel­op­ment, CIT is expect­ed to expand the Port of Abidjan’s annu­al through­put capac­i­ty by 1.2 mil­lion TEU, alle­vi­at­ing much of the trans­ship­ment capac­i­ty restric­tions cur­rent­ly faced by oth­er port ter­mi­nals in the region – specif­i­cal­ly those in Burk­i­na Faso, Mali, and Niger. 

The project is being adver­tised as one that will fol­low strict envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, mak­ing it the only “green ter­mi­nal” in sub-Saha­ran Africa.  The lat­est project fol­lows oth­er  ini­tia­tives by CHEC in Côte d’Ivoire.

  • In April 2002, CHEC com­plet­ed a sep­a­rate, $933.4 mil­lion expan­sion project at the Abid­jan Port that was ini­ti­at­ed in 2015. It is report­ed­ly the largest EPC project under­tak­en by CHEC in West Africa.
  • In April 2018, CHEC signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing (MoU) for the exten­sion of San Pedro Port, Côte d’Ivoire’s sec­ond largest port (by ton­nage).  The Ivo­rian gov­ern­ment announced it would award financ­ing for the project to the Indus­tri­al and Com­mer­cial Bank of Chi­na (ICBC). 

China’s port invest­ment activ­i­ties in Africa have been char­ac­ter­ized as com­pris­ing part of Beijing’s Mar­itime Silk Road ini­tia­tive, intend­ed to facil­i­tate China’s access to the con­ti­nent for a vari­ety of trade, devel­op­ment and poten­tial mil­i­tary rea­sons. For now, CHEC remains a con­trac­tor for ter­mi­nal con­struc­tion pur­pos­es. Once com­plet­ed, the ter­mi­nal will be joint­ly oper­at­ed by Bol­loré Ports and APM Ter­mi­nals (APMT).