Benin Woos Nigerian Importers

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Swayed by the fortunes  from the concession of Nigerian Ports to private operators,  the Republic of Benin has engaged the services of Bureau Veritas/SOGET, major  players in compliance assessment and trade facilitation in West Africa, to  concession and fully automate Cotonou port.

The country’s decision to concession, implement and operate the Port Single Window  of Cotonou is to make the port more vibrant, attractive and continue to retain  patronage from the excess Nigerian cargo and other surrounding countries which had  hitherto used the port as transit hub.

The Port of Cotonou is located in a highly strategic geographical location, which  enables it to act as one of the major supply hubs for sub-Saharan West Africa and to  take advantage of the strong growth in cargo traffic inwards for the international  market of Benin as well as regional transit.

Mr. Nicole Weidig, the Director of Business Development of Bureau Veritas dropped  the hint on Tuesday while speaking at the 8th Pan- African Port Cooperation  Conference held in Arusha, Tanzania.

Weidig  said  part of the concession requirement is to fully automate the Cotonou  Port system to make it more attractive to investors from neighbouring countries, and  in particular, make them enjoy the trade and transport facilitation along the  Abidjan-Lagos corridor, initiated by the World Bank in April 2010.

He noted that the implementation of the Port Single Window would enable Benin, which  is classified 127th by the World Bank in its 2011 Doing-Business- indicator for  Cross Border Trading, to join the Top 100 and achieve its goal of making the port of  Cotonou a high performance regional transit hub towards neighbouring countries, thus  furthering the economic growth of the country.

Mr. Weidig said the Benin Minister in-charge of Maritime economy, Mr. Issa Badarou  Soule, maritime transport and Port infrastructures signed a ten year contract with  their company, explaining that the Port Single Window is scheduled for delivery  within six months.

Mr. Eric Sabatier, the Senior Vice President of Bureau Veritas in-charge of  Government Services and International Trade said the implementation of the Port  Single Window of Cotonou will enable Benin to become a technological reference of  the West African Coast.