The Senegalese government has launched one of its most ambitious infrastructure projects – the construction of a multi-million deep-water port.
The project, estimated to cost $1.13 billion, is being developed by the Emirati logistics firm DP World.
It will be the second container terminal in the West African country, after the Port of Dakar.
The new project is located at Ndayane, a small settlement some 50km south of the Senegalese capital.
DP World will develop and operate the 300ha container terminal, according to the agreement signed in December 2020.
President Macky Sall officially laid the foundation stone on Monday, at a ceremony marked by fanfare.
The agreement entails a joint venture between the Port Authority of Dakar (PAD) and the Dubai-based logistics provider, to be implemented by a subsidiary of DP World in Senegal - DP World Dakar, which will be responsible for financing, designing and developing the land and marine infrastructure on a 600ha area.
According to details of the agreement, at the initial stage of the project DP World will develop roughly 840m of quays and a 5km marine channel that can accommodate ships up to 366m in length. During this phase, DP World will invest nearly $837 million.
The second phase will see the addition of a 410m container quay along with further dredging works, which will allow the port to manage vessels measuring up to 400m. It is expected to spend about $290 million in this phase.
Upon completion, the port is expected to increase Senegal’s capability to handle the largest container vessels in the world, increasing its container handling capacity by 1.2 million TEUs per year.
The plan also entails that the port serves as a cruise terminal as well as a residential and commercial waterfront. DP World also said that it is planning to develop a special economic zone next to the Ndayane port.
Ndayane is a small fishing village in the northern Thies Region. The plan to erect a world class port in the community was announced by President Sall in 2017.
The new port is strategic in that it is located near the newly established Blaise Diagne International Airport.
The government says it will support the realisation of President Sall’s ambitious economic development plans for the country – the Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE). It is also said to be the largest single private investment in Senegal’s history.
During the launch, the Senegalese leader said the project was part of a transformational move by his government to boost the country’s economy and position it as a major trade hub and gateway in the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) region.
“We are ready for the structural transformation of our economy with this mega project,” President Sall said.
“It will unlock significant economic opportunities for local businesses, create jobs, and increase Senegal’s attractiveness to foreign investors. We are pleased to extend our collaboration with DP World to this project, which has already delivered great results with the operation of the container terminal at the Port of Dakar.”
Senegal recently became the second country to join the World Logistics Passport, a major initiative by Dubai established to increase trading opportunities between developing markets, further boosting Dakar’s position as a trade hub for Africa.
The World Logistics Passport was created to overcome trade impediments, such as logistics inefficiency, that currently limit the growth of trade between developing markets.
DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem was quoted saying that the project represented a “brighter future”, noting that it also reflected the growing partnerships between Dubai and African markets aimed at supporting development in the continent.
“As the leading enabler of global trade, we will bring all our expertise, technology and capability to this port project, the completion of which will support Senegal’s development over the next century,” he said.
Founded in 2005, DP World, a multinational logistics company based in the city of Dubai, specialises in cargo logistics, port terminal operations, maritime services and free trade zones.
It has operations in over 40 countries across Europe, US, Asia and Africa. In Africa, it has operations in seven countries – South Africa, Somaliland, Senegal, Mozambique, Egypt, Djibouti and Algeria.
Officials say the Senegal project is so far its largest investment on the continent.
Last month, DP World signed an agreement for its eighth African operations – a project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – for the development of a deep-sea port in the coastal town of Banana, along the country’s 37km Atlantic Ocean coastline.
The DRC project, which is billed as the first seaport in the war-torn nation, was initially signed in 2018.