The Ivory Coast's Port of San Pedro plans to invest $522 million together with Mediterranean Shipping Co. to expand its terminal, build new berths and enlarge container capacity fivefold in the next few years, the port authority said.
Desire Dallo, the director of the port, told Reuters this week MSC, which operates the port, was expected to put $192 million towards the project.
MSC is No. 2 on the JOC list of Top 15 Container Fleet Operators.
The project involves adding two new berths to the existing four and increasing total capacity to 720,000 containers a year from its current 120,000, he said on a visit to the port.
San Pedro handles around half of the average 1.2 million metric tons of cocoa produced by the world's top grower each year.
"We're talking about a huge project that will improve (cocoa) supply to the port, but will also increase trade with neighbors like Mali, Guinea and Liberia," Dallo said.
He added that the revamped terminal would be 2,296 feet long, 49 feet deep with 57 acres of space on the platform.
"The new terminal will be able to receive some of the world's biggest ships," he said.
It would be completed in 5 to 8 years and would handle not only hundreds of thousands of metric tons of cocoa annually but also coffee and output from iron ore and nickel mining projects expected to come on line by 2014.
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