Cape Verde: Port management company looking for Chinese investors for US$324 million project to expand Port of Mindelo

5 January 2009

Praia, Cape Verde, 5 Jan – Cape Verde’s port management company, Enapor, is looking for investors, particularly Chinese investors, to expand the Mindelo Port on Sao Vicente, a US$ 324 million project which aims to increase six-fold by 2030 the movement of cargo by the archipelago’s largest port.

According to information recently divulged by Enapor to potential investors in China, the objective of the “Mindelo Port: Mid-Atlantic International Platform” project is to secure 100 percent of the capital from private sources, though it accepts a mixed investment model.

The operational model could take the form of a public-private partnership (PPP), a concession contract for the infrastructures or a B.O.T (Build-Operate-Transfer) type agreement in which, at the end of a specified period, during which the investor recovers its investment, ownership of the infrastructures reverts to the public domain.

In Cape Verde the project’s first steps have already been taken with the launch of a request for bids to carry out an economic and financial viability study of the Northern Access and of the financial solidity of the Port’s Administrator, the project’s proponent.

Enapor will receive bids up until 14 January.

The project envisages a total investment of US$324.55, divided into three phases, the most important of which is the first, with an investment of US$150.76 million.

In this initial phase, annual movement of around 150 thousand TEU is expected, of which 130 thousand will be in transhipment and the rest in import and export operations.

The movement of cargo should increase to 390 thousand TEU in the second phase and 1 million TEU in the final phase, according to Enapor’s estimates.

Having the best port infrastructures of the country, the Main Port boasts a fishing dock, refrigerated storage units with a 6000 ton capacity, as well as a cabotage terminal with a 230 metre boarding perimeter and a roll-on/roll-off ramp for the transport of passengers and goods.

Enapor is hoping to attract investors with logistical capacity and competitive rates, as well as the geographical location and natural conditions which give Sao Vicente the potential to become a “maritime platform” for transport and fishing.

The archipelago’s ports “have provided the ideal platform for many kinds of ships looking for logistical support: refuelling, transhipment of fish, exchange of crews and ship repair,” and traffic has been increasing, particularly to West Africa, said Enapor.

In the first half of 2008, the total goods passing through Cape Verdian ports rose 16.6 percent (158,569 tons) to 1.089 million tons.

The number of ships stopping at the archipelago rose by 6 percent, and passenger traffic rose by 5.1 percent to 316,518.

At the same time contact between the Cape Verdean and Chinese authorities has been maintained, with a view to the privatization and renovation process of Cape Verde’s shipyards which may be used as a base for the repair of 300 Chinese ships which operate in the region, making Sao Vicente a base for fish processing.

According to Inforpress, on 24 December a delegation from the China (Overseas) Fishery Co. Ltd, (CNFC) for the promotion of fishing, agriculture, trade and industry, visited Cabnave, which is undergoing a process of evaluation, and was received by the Sao Vicente Mayor, Isaura Gomes.

For the CNFC CEO, Liu Shen Li, this was a “visit for intense study of the conditions of Cabnave’s facilities, in order to strengthen our cooperation.”

CEO of Cabo Verde Investimentos (CVI), Alexandre Fontes, stressed that this was the “first time that the head of the group, which is the biggest agricultural group with 40 fishing vessels, had come to Cabo Verde,” which constitutes “a further step in the restructuring of Cabnave,” he added.