Antwerp, 7 December 2011 – The port of Antwerp is to collaborate in further developing the port of San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) over the next few years. San Pedro, the largest cacao port in the world, has 2000 hectares of vacant land that will be put into use in stages in the near future. Port of Antwerp International (PAI), the international subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority, will assist San Pedro in further drawing up the master plan for the port. These arrangements were laid down in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of PAI and San Pedro at the end of November.
The challenge of San Pedro
The port of San Pedro, which currently handles a freight volume of between 1.5 and 2 million tonnes annually, has the ambition to expand significantly on a regional scale. A number of practical investment and development projects have already been drawn up for this. Logistics zones will be set up in the hinterland of the port, in among others the cities of Odienné, Touba and Man. Further, space will be created in the port of San Pedro for logistics zones to handle rice, cashew nuts, fertilisers and cotton. Finally, an additional 150 hectares of port area will be made ripe for development with a view to attracting investors.
PAI consulting and help with training and marketing
Previously, in October 2010, PAI and San Pedro signed an agreement to look at areas in which PAI could assist the West African port. The relevant areas have now been defined and are described in the MoU that was signed at the end of November. “One of the objectives of PAI is to further bind freight and customers to Antwerp, and this will form the starting point of our activities there,” explained Nico Vertongen, Africa manager at PAI. For example, PAI has undertaken to carry out specific studies for port facilities and operation of the port area. Training for port professionals will be provided by APEC, the training subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority. For this purpose Antwerp Port Authority will make three scholarships per year available to its counterpart in San Pedro. There will also be support for commercial activities. To promote the port of San Pedro a joint Port Day will be held in 2012. Further, prospecting missions will be sent to the hinterland of San Pedro (the South of Mali, the East of Guinea and the South-East of Liberia) with a view to further developing San Pedro on a regional scale.