(With Agency Report)
The gale of port concessioning which swept into Nigeria about three years ago has reached neighbouring Republic of Benin where the famous Cotonou port has been concessioned for 25 years to French Bolloré Group in what the country’s authorities explained as a public-private partnership deal.
The country’s government also disclosed last week that the concession agreement is aimed at boosting Cotonou’s role as the ‘second Lagos port’ in anticipation of future growth in Nigeria.
Justifying he deal, Benin Republic’s minister of ports, Issa Badarou said: “Bolloré’s bid offer was exceptional and the fullest. It fully met our development vision. And that was why we are concessioning the port to Bolloré.”
The concession is to operate and manage the South Wharf Container Terminal for 25 years. Bolloré says it will pay fees of US$200 million over the first eight years of operation, while investing $256m in infrastructure during the life of the concession. A fee of close to $27 million was to be paid when the concession was signed.
According to Bolloré Africa Logistics it aims at increasing container traffic in the port of Cotonou from the current 312,000 TEU to one million TEU by 2030. This will be done by way of boosting trade for Niger, where the port handles the export of uranium to France’s leading nuclear company Areva, and to Northern Nigeria, Lagos, Burkino Faso, Mali and Chad, turning Cotonou into one of the more important transit ports in the Gulf of Guinea.