March 24, 2012
Kribi Seaport to Guzzle 6500 Bn
It has been revealed that some 6,500 billion FCFA, over twice Cameroon’s current state budget will be pumped into the construction of a deep seaport at Kribi in the country’s south. The figure trickled from a public presentation of the project master plan in mid-March.
According to experts with the Dutch Royal Haskonig Nederland consulting firm which elaborated the long-term outline of the project, the overall construction works will span the period from 2012 to 2040. They will culminate in an industrial port complex perched over a 26,000 ha surface area.
The facility will include a container terminal, a polyvalent terminal, an aluminum terminal fitted with a factory, a hydrocarbons terminal fitted with storage tanks, a cereals terminal, a methane gas terminal with a gas liquefaction plant, leisure beaches, an industrial fishing port, a naval base, industrial zones, among others. Their erection has been segmented into four phases each lasting five years.
“The objective of the presentation is to enable us see how things will concretely unfold on the ground, and also to ensure that all current and future stakeholders have the same information and visibility on the project,” Louis Paul Motaze, Chair of the Project Steering and Follow-up Committee as well as Secretary General at the PM’s office stated.
Preliminary works involving the clearing of the site actually kicked off last December 27, 2011. They followed the laying of the project foundation stone on October 8 the same year by President Paul Biya, ahead of the a presidential poll which he eventually won with a 77.8 percent landslide.
The China Harbor and Engineering Company, CHEC is undertaking the seaport construction and says the first vessels will dock there in 2014. On the whole, according to Motaze, the overall works on the multipurpose seaport will generate some 20,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs.
He says the government priority at the moment is the building of rail lines and roads to eventually ease access and circulation within the area. A new town to host some 100,000 inhabitants is due development, as well as the building of modern telecommunications infrastructure. Funding for the ostensibly gigantic venture will come from the government coffers, public corporations and others running partly on government capital as well as the private sector.
At term, the Kribi port will not only significantly help decongest the crammed Douala seaport, but will enable Cameroon receive giant cargo vessels. The Douala port, with a rather lengthy access channel and a depth of between 6-7 meters can only receive 15,000-ton vessels. Ships weighing 100,000 tons will be able to dock in Kribi which boasts of a depth of up to 16 meters.
Elsewhere, Kribi will help fast-track the country’s industrialization plans with ramped up exploitation of mineral resources. It will also perk up sub-regional integration by serving more landlocked neighboring countries.
The idea to build the port was first hatched in the 1980s. After a prolonged period of its shelving owing to economic hardship, it resurfaced amid government propaganda in 2008 two years after the country crossed the HIPC finish line. But Anglophones argue that the Limbe deep seaport has always come first on the government’s priority port development plans, and do not understand why Kribi was preferred.
Article source Cameroon post Online, posted on The Cameroon News under Cameroon Business News