Dubai’s DP World, one of the largest port operators globally, has signed a final agreement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to develop a deep-sea port.
This will be the DRC’s first deep-sea port at Banana, along the country’s 37-kilometre coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Construction will start within 12 months, DP World said in a statement on Monday.
This project will provide DRC with a modern port and logistics infrastructure to support the tremendous opportunities for trade in the country, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World’s chairman and chief executive, said.
“The port will enhance the country’s export capabilities and give it affordable access to international markets," said Mr Sulayem.
DP World will develop an initial 600-metre quay with an 18m draft, capable of handling the largest vessels in operation. It will have a container handling capacity of about 450,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) per year and a 30-hectare yard to store containers.
The TEU is an exact unit of measurement used to determine cargo capacity for container ships and terminals.
The new agreement, which was inked in DRC’s capital city Kinshasa, followed the signing of a term sheet earlier this year between DP World and the DRC government, which summarised the agreed amendments to the initial contract signed in 2018.
"This [Banana] port will transform DRC into a trade hub in the region, and in particular, will benefit Kongo Central, a province which already has a port facility, with the creation of jobs … in addition to generating economic benefits and growth for our country," Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, DRC’s president, said.
The development of the Banana port will bring significant cost and time savings for the country’s trade, as it will attract more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe, industry experts say.
"Development of infrastructure is a priority for the UAE to build trade and economic bridges between the UAE and Africa. This port project is part of many initiatives to promote economic prosperity,” said UAE Minister of State Khalifa Al Marar.
DP World has been expanding its global footprint to boost growth.
Last month, it teamed up with Indonesia's sovereign wealth fund to develop the South-East Asian country's seaports in a deal valued at an estimated $7.5 billion over a period of up to 30 years.
In July, it partnered with Moscow-based nuclear energy and technology company Rosatom to develop the Northern Transit Corridor as a “viable and sustainable” route between Asia and Europe.
It recorded a 52 per cent increase in first-half net profit on the back of higher revenue as global trade rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic.
Total profit attributable to owners of the company for the six-month period to the end of June rose to $475 million, the company said. Revenue climbed 21.3 per cent year-on-year to $4.94bn.