MONROVIA (Somalilandpress) — Bollore Africa Logistics, one of the companies that expressed interest in the bid for the Freeport of Monrovia may sign an agreement to manage the port of Berbera and oversee $ 700 million of upgrades to the facility in Somalia’s breakaway northern Somaliland region According to information, the Foreign Minister of that country, Abdillahi Duale said discussions are already in an advanced stage. Duale said last week in an interview in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa that they have already made a basic agreement.” Representatives of Bollore, an investment company controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, have met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Somaliland President Dahir Riyale to discuss the agreement which will probably be signed next year, he said. Berbera port handles food aid and other cargo bound for landlocked Ethiopia.
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According to the information, port revenue provides approximately 75 percent of the Somaliland government’s $ 50 million in annual revenue. Somaliland, a former British protectorate that merged with Italy’s Somali colony in 1960 to form Somalia, has remained largely free of violence during the 18-year civil was in central and southern Somalia. Recently, it was reported by this paper that Bollore Group, a leading investor and port operator on the African continent has expressed its interest “to invest, operate and maintain” the Freeport of Monrovia for certain number of years. The group is involved in all areas of port operations, infrastructures, including construction of roads and railways relating to port concession they had secured over the years. It now has new branches in Namibia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Maputo and Ethiopia.
Besides, it is the most extensive integrated logistics network in Africa and has its presence over 50 years in most African countries. It is also involved in services from vessel operations up to inland distribution and is now involved in ongoing densification and extension of its network. The group has its presence in 41 countries, with more than 200 agencies and 16,650 permanent staff. Financially, sources said it has 1.600 euros annual income and more than 200 million euros investment; five million square mile of warehouse space. Further inquiry by this paper discovered that the company’s main activities are terminal operator, stevedoring, shipping agencies, freight forwarding, and trucking. Others are inland container (for landlocked countries), barging, dredging, railways, airfreight, warehousing commodities, logistics project as well as oil, gas, mining logistics operations.
One of its major achievements in port concession over the years has been 150 million Euros investment in ports such as in Abidjan, Tema, Tincan, Doula and Libreville and that target reached increased in productivity, traffic and revenue for port authorities. Besides it has provided concession with “state of the art” operations system and standards.
Source: The Inquirer Online (Liberia), 30 December 2009
[Picture/ Monrovia – MercyWatch]