Cameroon: The Douala port exudes a sense of renationalization.￼
APD, the autonomous port in Douala, is gradually taking over operations formerly overseen by international organizations. The port authority’s administrator, Cyrus Ngo’o, is in charge of dredging, weighing, security, and container terminal management.
One may think that this exclusion of foreign operators was an isolated incident given the Bolloré-Maersk consortium’s expulsion. And from the container terminal in December 2020 and the continuing dispute. So which has received considerable media attention.
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However, since Cyrus Ngo’o was appointed the director of the independent Douala port (PAD) five years ago. And a nationalist surge has been sweeping across the port complex of the Cameroonian economic metropolis. This skilled civil administrator declared the return of the “state of Cameroon’s sovereignty” in October 2020. over the country’s primary access route for supplies and merchandise.
new organizations and businesses
In accordance with the 1998 port reform, which among other things, established private operations, a number of enterprises that were previously operated by foreign companies are now managed by local businesses. The port authorities are in charge of several of them. According to Lin Onana Ndoh, deputy director of the industry in cost of towing and salvaging ships, which was established at the start of 2021 to replace the French company Boluda, “as was the case before, when some activities were even directly operated by the former Office National des Ports du Cameroun [ONPC], the PAD’s ancestor.”
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The assigned firm has managed the container terminal for the past two years through the Régie du Terminal à Conteneurs, taking over from Douala International Terminal (DIT, a subsidiary of the French company Bolloré Transport & Logistics and the Dutch company APM Terminals) (RTC). Along with safety and security, it has taken over the dredging operations formerly managed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). For this, a new organization has been established: Douala Port Security (DPS). This takeover was made possible by the financial assistance provided by Afriland First Bank, which provided lines of credit for the port authority to begin its operations.
Concession is another tactic that was employed. This is the situation with stevedoring. Last year, a contract was made with Fako Ship, one of the businesses belonging to the family group created in Buea, in the South West, by Charles Name Menyoli. Douala Mooring Company (DMC), the project company in charge of the activities, was subsequently founded as a result. The management contract for the wood yard, which was finalized before Ngo’o arrived and is still a part of the Bolloré group, is the lone exception to this restriction.
combating the extortion of corporations
Public-private partnerships, even those involving foreign companies, are not disallowed. For instance, the Turkish business Erdem, funded by Afriland First Bank, will spend 15 billion CFA francs [22.87 million euros] over the next few months to construct 13 warehouses. The Société de Gestion des Magasins Portuaires was already founded by Erdem (SGMP)
hefty financial savings
The first effect of this PAD policy is the cost savings realized across all areas of port activity. One of the best examples is the elimination of head office expenses. So which the parent firm charges to its subsidiaries and affects the outcome. As well as improved pay cost control as a result of expatriates leaving.
The cost of Cameroonization has decreased as well. “Dredging accounted for a sizable 30% to 40% of the PAD’s operating expenses. We were spending close to 10 billion CFA francs annually to dredge 3.7 million m3 of tailings. Idriss Beye, the deputy director of the dredging authority, claims that we have decreased this expense to less than 4 billion CFA francs annually for the same quantity treated. The same goes for security; installation.
The number of thefts experienced by the various operators has significantly decreased thanks to DPS and its video surveillance system. This has kept us from stealing fuel, which our predecessor deplored, and allowed us to save a lot of money, claims Ndoh.
Thus, the dynamics set in motion have allowed the PAD to generate more revenue. And the necessary funds to make the expenditures required to upgrade the infrastructure and buy new equipment. The Régie du Terminal à Conteneurs (RTC) is anticipated to produce a profit of more than 15 billion . And CFA francs in 2021 with a turnover of 56.8 billion CFA francs, an increase of 14% over the previous fiscal year.