The mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will soon be able to independently manage its own maritime exports and imports after signing a final agreement with DP World for the development of the banana port on the Atlantic Ocean.
The port giant DP World, headquartered in Dubai, announced that it had signed the collaboration agreement with the government of the DRC for the development of the country’s first deep-water port, a development that paves the way for banana harbor construction start next year.
The facility will be located in the town of Banana, on the country’s short 23-mile coast. The billion dollar project is a historic investment for the DRC, which largely depends on seaports in neighboring Tanzania and Kenya to export its minerals and import goods.
The signing of the agreement follows the signing of a term sheet earlier this year, which amended an initial contract signed in 2018. DP World holds the exclusive rights to develop and manage the port for the duration of one 30-year concession. The original deal also stipulated that DP World would own 70 percent of the project, with the government holding the remaining 30 percent.
As a first step, DP World will develop a 2,000-foot quay with 60-foot depth at the quay, capable of handling the largest container ships in operation. The port will have a container handling capacity of approximately 450,000 TEUs per year and a 75-acre yard to store the containers.
“This agreement represents the vision to provide the DRC with modern and world-class port and logistics infrastructure to support the tremendous business opportunities in this country. The port will strengthen the country’s export capacities and give it affordable access to international markets, ”said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO of DP World.
The banana port is expected to save significant time and money for DRC trade, as it will attract more direct calls from large ships from Asia and Europe. The resource-rich DRC depends on the central corridor passing through the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the northern corridor passing through the port of Mombasa to export its minerals. The DRC is a key source of copper, cobalt, tin, tungsten and tantalum for manufacturers, and it sends most of its production to China.
“This port will transform the DRC into a commercial hub in the region, and will benefit in particular 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, ”said President Félix Tshisekedi.