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Kribi Deep Seaport: Masterpiece Awaiting Full Functioning

The port is technically fit and management team highly expected even as finishing works intensify on access road.

The sea-side resort town of Kribi in the Ocean Division of the South Region is already bustling with activities following the construction of a much-heralded seaport in Mboro, some 35 km from the city. Experts say the edifice constructed by a Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), is already technically fit for use and can now receive vessels of varying sizes.

What Has Been Done

After completing civil engineering works on the project, its actors have been acquiring the port’s vital equipment. These are notably some two tug boats christened, ‘Roi Mayesse’ and ‘Roi Madola,’ meant to facilitate the anchoring of bigger vessels at the port.  The fact that the heavy-duty vessel that carried the tugs anchored at the port on July 8, 2014, like was the case in February 2014 when the first one came with other port equipment, is telling of the port’s readiness to receive commercial ships once ongoing finishing works are done.

Also, the Customs administration charged with controlling the entry and exit of goods from the port has been working out management strategies even as embellishing works get finalized in the various structures to host the different offices.

What Next?

After the construction works are done, the powers that be will need to appoint management of the port and recruit personnel for its functioning. Once this is done, there will be need to carry out a vigorous campaign to sell the seaport to business people for the import and export of their goods. Only then can there be the in and out movement of commercial ships in the port to make it fully operational and to give a push to much needed socio-economic development.

The efficient functioning of the port will also help to decongest the Douala seaport that is also shallow vis-à-vis Kribi and the yet-to-be constructed Limbe Deep Seaport.

Government is already into discussion with three international container management companies in view of selecting one that will efficiently manage the container terminal of the Kribi Deep Seaport when it finally goes operational. Going by a communiqué from the Prime Minister’s Office late last year, one among Bollore/CMA/CHEC group, APM Terminals BV and ICTSI INC, will be selected to ensure the management of the port. The three firms were shortlisted from a pack of companies that on August 14, 2014 submitted proposals for the management and development of the container terminal of the port.

What About Access Road?

Finishing works are on, on the two sections of the 35-km access road from Kribi town to the port’s site at Mboro. While Razel Cameroun finishes up with the first section (about 12.5 km from Kienké bridge to end of Grand Batanga), China Harbour Engineering Company is also rounding off with the second segment (about 21 km from end of Grand Batanga to the port site at Mboro).

Double-carriage Road in Gestation

The Kribi-Mboro road even when complete will only be temporal given that it will not sustain heavy-duty vehicles with goods to and from the port for long. As such, the project’s plan envisages a double-carriage road as well as railway line for the transportation of heavy cargo. The rail infrastructures are to be constructed within the framework of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project. The government of Cameroon on June 5, 2014 signed a binding and financing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Sundance Resources Limited, an Australian firm leading the multi-billion iron ore projects and a leading international engineering and construction company, Mota-Engil Africa, for the construction of the Cameroon portion of the port and rail infrastructure component of the project.

Meanwhile, a 385,808.6 million US dollars (about FCFA 192.91 billion) loan from the government of China will partially finance construction works on a double-carriage road from Kribi to Lolabe. The Kribi-Lolabe axis estimated at about FCFA 453 million US dollars (about FCFA 215 billion) seeks to ease traffic to and from the port’s site. It represents phase one of the project and phase two will be from Kribi to Edea. Sources from the Operational Department of the Steering and Monitoring Committee of the Kribi Industrial Port Complex say feasibility studies on the first phase of the 38.5-km, six-lane double-carriage road project are complete and once Eximbank disburses the funds, construction work could begin. The Chinese loan represents 85 per cent of the project’s funding.

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