DP World set to kick off the Banana port development

Democratic Republic of Kongo Press
Presidential Press; Courtesy of DRC

Three years after the initial contract was signed, Dubai-based port developer DP World is finally ready to start the Banana port development along the coastline of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

After DP World was awarded a 30-year concession to develop and manage the $1 billion Banana Port in 2018, the project is now finally on the move, with an expected two-year completion period.

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The announcement follows the agreement on amendments to the initial contract, collected in a term sheet that was signed recently in Kinshasa. DP World said that the objective of the amendments was to readjust the different obligations of the two parties under the project.

“The signing of the term sheet is a key milestone in the partnership between DP World and the Government of the DRC, in moving forward with the project and the firm desire of DP World to be part of the President’s vision that will give the country strong, efficient and affordable access to international markets that will enhance its export capabilities,” Suhail AlBanna, CEO and Managing Director of DP World, Middle East and Africa region, stated.

Further details of the amended deal were not disclosed.

The construction of the deep-water port was on the cards for the past six years. However, the terms of the initial deal between DRC and DP World raised many eyebrows amid concerns over the level of the government’s equity stake in the project and its potential right to veto.

Under the initial deal, DP World was planning to set up a joint venture with 70 pct control with the government of DRC holding a 30 pct share, to manage and invest in the port.

DP World said in 2018 that the first phase of the greenfield project would include a 600-meter quay and 25-hectare yard extension with a container capacity of 350,000 TEU and 1.5 million tonnes for general cargo.

The company earmarked an estimated initial investment of $350 million for the first stage of the project, which is expected to cost more than $ 1 billion over four phases.

The development of the Banana Port is aimed at attracting more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe, and boost the growth of the country’s economy, the port developer said.