Port of Antwerp to temporarily manage Cotonou

Port of Antwerp International (PAI) has been appointed to temporarily manage the Benin port of Cotonou to prepare it for modernisation.

Recognising that the port’s infrastructure and organisation are outdated, the Council of Ministers of the West African country has opted to outsource the management to create a new port authority to better compete in the region.

Strategically important as one of the main gateway ports for the countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, Cotonou handles an annual freight volume of 12 million tonnes.

Antwerp has the highest proportion of direct services to West Africa of all ports in north-west Europe, which translates into a market share of almost 50 per cent.

“Our main task will be to modernise the port authority in organisational terms, renovate the obsolescent facilities and prepare for and guide the expansion of the port,” said PAI Managing Director Kristof Waterschoot.

PAI now seeks to recruit eight expats who will carry out the task on the ground.

“We’re looking for a CEO and a chief financial officer, but we have the explicit aim under the terms of our remit to organise management training courses for local managers, to prepare them for a gradual transfer of these key functions,” said Mr Waterschoot.

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