DRC: soon a deep-water port on the Atlantic coast

Kinshasa has signed with DP World the concession for the future port of Banana at the mouth of the Congo River. Work begins in 2022.

The concession contract for the construction of the deep-water port of Banana, at the mouth of the Congo River, has just been signed. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has chosen one of the specialists in the sector, namely the Emirati company DP World. “Specialized in the construction, management and maintenance of large ports, DP World has to its credit more than 80 international ports. This expertise places it 3rd in the world”, underlines the presidency of the DRC. The collaboration agreement was signed in 2018. But when he came to power, Félix Tshisekedi had it reviewed several points.

This will be the DRC’s first major economic infrastructure on the Atlantic, a project that dates back over 80 years, but which has never seen the light of day until then. At present, the port of Banana consists of a single quay approximately 75 meters long, in a bay, slightly away from the main course of the river. A rudimentary space, which only accommodates boats of less than five meters of draft.

(Translation: “aerial view of the site of the future port of Banana”).

In addition, the port does not have working means of handling. Boats must unload with their own means, which limits access to small freighters and passenger transport. Storage is limited to a warehouse of 2500 m²!

Work on the first phase of the port should start at 1st quarter 2022. This involves building a 600-meter quay and a 25-hectare storage platform, allowing the berthing of large container ships. The work is expected to last two years. The terminal will have an annual capacity of 332,000 containers and more than 1.3 million tonnes of cargo. The project has four phases for a final investment of around $ 1 billion. DP World is given a 30-year concession to amortize the investment. In the process, the construction of a 142 km railway line between Banana and Matadi is planned.

(Translation: “the Congo which flows in the two hemispheres is not a seasonal river. But it has a problem, it is navigable from Banana to Matadi, but not from Matadi to Kinshasa. Then navigable from Kinshasa to Kisangani. Nature. was not nice to the Congo “)

Matadi, halfway between the ocean and the capital Kinshasa, on the Congo River, is currently the DRC’s Atlantic commercial gateway. A road and a railway line also form the junction with Kinshasa. Matadi is the last point going upstream, where the river is navigable.

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But Matadi, until then the main port of the DRC, is a victim of the evolution of maritime traffic. It is henceforth more and more neglected due to its shallow draft. Huge container ships prefer the deeper docks of Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo. The goods thus reach the DRC by road or on coasters.

With this port and related infrastructure, the DRC will regain control of its commercial traffic, hope the country’s political leaders.

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