Togo's new container terminal biggest in West Africa, signals country's larger logistics ambitions

Togo's new container terminal biggest in West Africa, signals country's larger logistics ambitions

The new Lome Container Terminal allows the port to clear at least 2.2 million containers annually, up from 1.6 million, boosting Togo's economy and unlocking regional economic growth.

bird story agency

Togo's maritime economy is poised for growth with the newly commissioned container terminal at the Autonomous Port of LomΓ©.

On March 20, the Togolese government commissioned the Lome Container Terminal (LCT), which allows the port to clear at least 2.2 million containers annually, up from the 1.6 million it cleared in 2022. The extension solidifies Togo's position as a vital hub for maritime trade in West Africa.

The port of LomΓ© now has two terminals, the new LCT and Bollore, with LCT operating on a 53 hectares site with a 1050-meter quay.

"The port of LomΓ© is ranked fourth in terms of container traffic in Africa and is 96th in the world in 2022. And by 2025, Togo aims to become the logistics hub par excellence in West Africa," said the Togolese Minister of Maritime Economy, Edem Kokou Tengue.

The port holds a further 40 hectares of room for future extension, with the inaugurated extension coming with high-end modern shipping equipment. These include ship-to-shore cranes, mobile cranes, Rubber tired gantry cranes, empty container handlers, forklifts, reach stackers, truck trailers, and reefers sockets.

Construction on the more than US$430 million (400 million euro) project was launched in July 2022 and funded by Swiss-headquartered shipper, Mediterranean Shipping Company, the China Merchant Group, and the government of Togo.

The port is now in the same league as Egypt's Port Said, Morocco's Tanger Med, and the port of Durban in South Africa.

Additionally, with a depth of 17 meters, it is one of the few deep ports in Africa. This enables it to accommodate complex post-Panamax vessels.

The commissioning function was attended by Niger President Mohamed Bazoumand his Togolese host, Faure Gnassingbe, signalling the value and relevance of the port to the regional economy.

The leaders underscored the value of the port in increasing job opportunities and alleviating poverty in local communities.

Since its maiden inauguration in 2014, the port of Lome has seen a surge in the volume of containers handled.

The ministry estimates container traffic has grown by 34.6% between 2018 and 2022, with growth accelerating.

"There has been an increase of more than 31% for the period between 2020 and 2022," Tengue noted.

In 2021 the volumes crossed the 1 million mark of containers handled before increasing further to more than 1.6 million last year. With the extension, those figures are expected to escalate further.

The Togolese economy has demonstrated resilience during recent global economic challenges, only decreasing its growth rate slightly - from 6% in 2020, to 5.5% in 2021, according to the National Credit Council (CNC), an observer group focused on economic developments in Togo.

The maritime economy contributes about 50% of the national GDP, with more than 75% of the national tax revenues generated from the sector.

Regionally, the port is strategically located on the Lome-Ouagadougou-Niamey corridor, thus serving a vital role in the economic unlocking of the region.

It is a key transhipment hub serving neighbouring landlocked countries, including Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali.

Niger, for instance, has been keen on leveraging the facility in recent years, with the number of containers entering Niger via the port increasing from 6% in 2016 to 10% in 2021.

Cargo into and out of Niger via the port constituted more than 12% of the total cargo capacity handled by the port in 2021, against a much lower 5% in 2016.

Togo aims to be a leading logistical hub in Africa by 2025, leveraging just 56km of coastline.

bird story agency

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