Bolloré exit and pandemic impact shake up Africa’s transport and logistics

African ports, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, have been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Trade volumes tumbled during the early months of the pandemic but a small number of ports actually managed to record some growth over the course of the crisis.

However, the recovery has pushed up demand for containers, resulting in record freight rates, which in turn have increased the cost of moving cargo in and out of Africa. Port development continues to focus on West Africa, while the continent’s biggest operators have announced some interesting strategies over the past few months.

Investment by the Chinese government and Chinese state-owned companies in African transport projects has declined dramatically in recent years but port investment remains strong as international operators have been joined by at least one development finance institution in upgrading port, warehouse and inland port infrastructure.

However, it remains to be seen whether reduced Chinese loans for African road and rail projects will be replaced.

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