The construction of logisitics areas should start as soon as possible

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Kribi Conteneurs Terminal (KCT), the State has to complete the Kribi Project by building spaces for goods storage and also by resuming the Phase II of the construction works.


Philémon MENDO
General Manager Kribi Conteneurs Terminal (KCT)

For the General Manager of Around ten months after the start of commercial operations in the Port of Kribi, where Kribi Conteneurs Terminal is a key player, what is your progress assessment?

Commissioning this port is a challenge we tackled with great skills. It is the first maritime port of Cameroon and before the end of launching year, we have already handled a hundred thousand containers. We are satisfied in general, and optimistic for the future.

 

During these ten months of activities, around 100 000 containers have been handled: what are the main characteristics of this traffic? Where does it come from and what’s peculiar about it?

We have essentially transhipment traffic, which is very surprising as the Port of Kribi is the only port in Cameroon endowed to attract such traffic. However, exporters have been the first local operators to trust us. Increasing import volumes then followed suit. As the Asia-Africa line is direct, we have significant traffic from and to this continent.

Are you surprised by the enthusiasm over the Port of Mboro? How can you explain it?

This enthusiasm is no surprise to us because the Port has been long awaited to bring relief to foreign trade operators due to its strategic positioning and the support service we offer.

After these ten months of observation, what, in your opinion, are the real assets of the Port of Kribi? What can or should be its competitive assets, namely on the Multipurpose Terminal that you are operating?

The major asset of the Port of Kribi is undeniably its 16-metre -deep draught that can accommodate larger vessels, its direct access to sea, the expertise our world-renowned partners and our quality equipment, the key factor of current productivity.

Despite the depth, is the small space of the quay (265 metres only) not a serious hurdle, and even a threat to the quality of operations provided by the Multipurpose Terminal in particular?

The quay length cannot be considered a hurdle because the quay will eventually increase. An extension of the quay is planned in the deployment of Phase 2 of the Port's construction.

How is your collaboration with PAK and the other stakeholders of Mboro going?

Our collaboration with PAK is excellent and is based on respecting specifications as per the concession agreement. Besides, all the port stakeholders work hand in glove through various platforms set up by the Port Authority of Kribi in a bid to improving service quality.

What are the areas of dissatisfaction on which you have the highest expectations for improvement in the coming months?

Our weakest link after ten months of operations is still import-export flows as these are the real indicators of the visibility and attractiveness of our activities. In our opinion, there is a serious need to emphasise their development, through a major communication offensive.

In your opinion, how is the general traffic to Cameroon and especially to Kribi going, as compared to Pointe-Noire, its closest competitor port?

We intend to become the sub-regional leader in order to serve the local market and the hinterland as well. We have all the assets considering the strategic positioning of the Port of Kribi which shares six borders and two sub-regions.

Some operators seem to be complaining about the high rates in the Port of Kribi: is this not a short- and medium-term hurdle for the Port overall competitiveness?

Transhipment accounts for 95 of our global activities and could be increasing with a risk of saturation of the current space. We think that it is urgent to start the construction of the logistic area as soon as possible in order to be able to accommodate two vessels at the same time.

Some operators seem to be complaining about the high rates in the Port of Kribi: is this not a short- and medium-term hurdle for the Port overall competitiveness?

It depends. Talking about high rates might be exaggeration as the rate policy does not hinge upon the will of a single stakeholder. External factors included in cost evaluation criteria should equally be factored in, without neglecting the benefits of operations speed which is our keyword as time is a central profitability factor in this domain.