DP World seals its biggest port investment in Africa

The port operator will develop Senegal's Ndayane deep-water port with $1.1bn earmarked for two phases of the project

DP World and the Government of Senegal signed agreements for the development of a deep water port at Ndayane, approximately 50kms from the existing port and near the Blaise Diagne international airport. Courtesy: DP World
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Global ports operator DP World signed an agreement with Senegal to develop its Ndayane deep-water port, marking the Dubai-based company's biggest port investment in Africa to date.

DP World Dakar will invest a total of $1.1 billion over two phases of the project, which is expected to boost Dakar's position as a major logistics hub and gateway to west and north-west Africa, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This will be DP World's biggest port investment in Africa to date, and is a testament to our commitment to Senegal and belief in its potential for further economic growth," Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World's chairman and chief executive, said. "The new port will create jobs, attract new foreign direct investment to the country and enable new trading opportunities that bring about economic diversification."

DP World has remained bullish on growth prospects in Africa, where it has existing investments in Egypt, Algeria, Djibouti, Rwanda, Somaliland, Mozambique and Senegal, according to its website. The ports operator has shown increasing interest in the continent, despite a legal dispute over its operations in Djibouti.

The Dubai-based company, which operates ports from Peru to Australia, will develop the new port at Ndayane, located about 50 kilometers from the existing Port of Dakar and near the Blaise Diagne international airport.

DP World Dakar SA, the local joint venture company between DP World and PAD, will develop and operate a new 300-hectare container terminal at the Port of Dakar. It will also finance, design and develop the land and maritime infrastructure of the new 600-hectare port.

DP World Dakar will invest $837 million in the first phase of this project, making it the single biggest private sector investment in Senegal, according to the company. It is expected to invest a further $290m during the second phase.

The first phase will include a new container terminal with 840 meters of quay and a new 5km marine channel designed to handle 366m vessels and capable of handling the largest container vessels in the world, according to the statement.

The second phase will see 410m of additional container quay and a further dredging of the marine channel to handle 400m vessels.

The first phase of the Ndayane container terminal will be operated alongside the existing DP World Dakar container terminal.

The Ndayane container terminal will eventually have more than 3km of quay and 300 hectares for the container yard. This will enable the existing Port of Dakar to be redeveloped into a mixed use residential and commercial waterfront and cruise terminal, according to the statement.

DP World is also planning to develop a special economic zone next to the Port of Ndayane to attract more foreign investors looking at the Economic Community of West African States region that includes Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Mali. The economic zone will be serviced by the port and airport.

In February, DP World said it was close to finalising agreements on the construction of a new port and economic zone in Senegal.

The port development is part of Senegal's wider Plan Senegal Emergent, a new development model guiding its economic and social policies over the medium and long-term, according to the presidency website.

The new policy framework of President Macky Sall's government is aimed at getting Senegal onto the road to development by 2035.

"The development of the new port at Ndayane will provide a strong engine of growth for the next phase of the Plan Senegal Emergent”, Aboubacar Sedikh Beye, Director General of the Port Authority of Dakar, said.