DP World begins construction of its biggest port in Africa

Global ports operator DP World has begun construction of Senegal’s Ndayane deepwater port, the Dubai-based company’s biggest port investment in Africa to date and a project that is set to boost the country’s position as a major trade hub and gateway to West Africa.

DP World and the Senegal government have laid the first stone to mark the start of construction of the new Port of Ndayane, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The investment of more than $1 billion in two phases to develop Port of Ndayane is also the largest single private deal in the history of Senegal, it said.

“With the Port of Ndayane, Senegal will have state-of-the-art port infrastructure that will reinforce our country’s position as a major trade hub and gateway in West Africa,” Senegal’s President Macky Sall said. “It will unlock significant economic opportunities for local businesses, create jobs, and increase Senegal’s attractiveness to foreign investors.”

The step follows the concession agreement signed in December 2020 between DP World and the Senegal government to build and operate a new port at Ndayane, about 50 kilometres from the existing Port of Dakar. DP World has been significantly expanding its footprint in Africa as it seeks to tap into lucrative trade routes in the region. It has existing investments in Egypt, Algeria, Djibouti, Rwanda, Somaliland, Mozambique and Senegal, according to its website.

The infrastructure project reflects growing partnerships between Dubai and African markets aimed at supporting development in the continent, the company said.

“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,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World.

The first phase of the port development will include a container terminal with 840 metres of quay and a new 5km marine channel designed to handle two 336m vessels simultaneously, and capable of handling the largest container vessels in the world.

It will increase container handling capacity by 1.2 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) a year.

In the second phase, an additional container quay of 410m will be developed.

DP World also plans to develop an economic and industrial zone next to the port and near the Blaise Diagne International Airport, creating an integrated multi-modal transportation, logistics and industrial hub, it said.

In October, DP World partnered with UK-based development finance institution and impact investor CDC Group to create a $1.7bn investment platform for Africa. It will invest in origin and destination ports, inland container depots, economic zones and other logistics across Africa to increase trade, create new job opportunities and broaden access to essential goods, DP World said at the time.

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