A new commercial port serving the Angolan capital Luanda is to be built at the Dande River bar to help decongest the city’s main port infrastructure, which is nearing saturation, reports the Africa Monitor newsletter.
A naval base will also be built at the site located about 50 km north of Luanda, associated to a plan to acquire warships, the report specifies. The aim is to enhance the fight against sea piracy, terrorism and threats to the country’s security and vital economic interests, among them the exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources.
Such threats to Angola’s offshore economic assets are expected to increase in the next few years due to factors such as expansion of the maritime oil exploration zone due to the start of pre-salt production and forecasts of increased criminal activities such as piracy targeting the oil industry in the Gulf of Guinea area.
Luanda’s port has been functioning at top capacity in recent years, which have seen Angola’s foreign trade expand significantly. In the first half of this year, for example, cargo movements increased by 68 percent.
With 2013 drawing to a close, the capital’s port has moved an estimated 600,000 containers this year, compared to 150,000 containers in 2007.
The government made these projects a “special priority” in the 2013-2017 National Development Plan and aims to invest nearly US$8.8 billion in this sector over the next five years.
The country’s second-ranking port, Lobito, offers advantages such as deeper water and proximity to the mineral regions of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Zambia copper corridor.
The government has already invested US$1.2 billion to modernise and expand this port. The National Development Plan considers expansion of existing ports, besides three new ports in Cabinda, Bengo and Cuanza Sul provinces.
Angola’s ports play a “vital role” in facilitating the country’s exports, both as an African port of entry for merchandise and as a platform for supplying neighbouring countries and connecting to Europe and China, Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo indicated in a recent report.
“Port development is vital as a response to growing internal demand and the strong increase of commercial dynamics,” states the analysis document released by that bank, which stresses that Angola’s ports can become “a maritime platform for Africa”. (macauhub)