Cabinda To Go Deep

BMI View : The announcement that the Port of Cabinda is to receive a deepwater harbour, with construction due to start within three years, is a positive step for Angola's maritime sector. It will relieve pressure on the existing overburdened and underdeveloped ports, and capitalise on the rising interest in West Africa, and in Angola in particular, exhibited by shipping lines.

The Angolan Minister of Transport has confirmed that the port of Cabinda will be expanded to include a deepwater harbour, with construction due to start in the next three years. The three-stage development plan includes a 775 metre commercial dock to be completed in the first phase, with an additional extension to 1,550 metres during the third stage. This will offer a dramatic augmentation to the port's existing facilities which, even with its new jetty, are still limited to 37 large ships per month (representing some 26,000 containers over the first nine months of 2013).

Angola currently only has two medium-sized ports and a flock of small ones. The two largest, Luanda and Lobito, are still relatively underdeveloped and despite the addition of modern cranes and gantries in Lobito, the ports still lack the advanced facilities offered by their regional rivals. Moreover, import times and costs remain high, making countries such as Namibia and Nigeria far more attractive to shipping lines.

Angolan Imports A Costly Endeavour
Import Cost per Container (US$)

BMI View : The announcement that the Port of Cabinda is to receive a deepwater harbour, with construction due to start within three years, is a positive step for Angola's maritime sector. It will relieve pressure on the existing overburdened and underdeveloped ports, and capitalise on the rising interest in West Africa, and in Angola in particular, exhibited by shipping lines.

The Angolan Minister of Transport has confirmed that the port of Cabinda will be expanded to include a deepwater harbour, with construction due to start in the next three years. The three-stage development plan includes a 775 metre commercial dock to be completed in the first phase, with an additional extension to 1,550 metres during the third stage. This will offer a dramatic augmentation to the port's existing facilities which, even with its new jetty, are still limited to 37 large ships per month (representing some 26,000 containers over the first nine months of 2013).

Angola currently only has two medium-sized ports and a flock of small ones. The two largest, Luanda and Lobito, are still relatively underdeveloped and despite the addition of modern cranes and gantries in Lobito, the ports still lack the advanced facilities offered by their regional rivals. Moreover, import times and costs remain high, making countries such as Namibia and Nigeria far more attractive to shipping lines.

Angolan Imports A Costly Endeavour
Import Cost per Container (US$)

Currently, import costs for Angolan containers are extremely high at US$2,690 per container, which is almost US$800 more than imports into Namibia. Meanwhile, it takes eight days to get items from port to consignee in Angola, compared with three for Namibia and four for Nigeria and Kenya. In part, this is owing to the woeful state of the transport network in the country, which is in need of extensive and expensive transport developments for road and rail infrastructure. In fact, with regards to the entire freight and shipping sector, we view Angola as outclassed by many of its coastal neighbours.

We believe the proposed development will relieve pressure on Angola's main ports, Luanda and Lobito, which are seeing a steady growth in liner connectivity. Currently, Angola sits in 4 th place in the UNCTADstat Liner Connectivity Index. However, the new port offers the country a chance to move up these ratings.

There has also been a marked growth in container throughput activity at Angolan ports. We expect this to become more pronounced over the next few years as rising GDP and consumer demand, driven by increasing incomes, brings about an uptick in liner connectivity.

The Cabinda proposals are a step in the right direction and represent a strategic response by the government towards wider regional trends of increasing consumer driven import demand and steady commodities export volumes.

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Freight Transport, Shipping
Geography: Angola
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