17th December, 2010
Swayed by the fortunesÂ from the concession of Nigerian Ports to private operators,Â the Republic of Benin has engaged the services of Bureau Veritas/SOGET, majorÂ players in compliance assessment and trade facilitation in West Africa, toÂ concession and fully automate Cotonou port.
The countryâ€™s decision to concession, implement and operate the Port Single WindowÂ of Cotonou is to make the port more vibrant, attractive and continue to retainÂ patronage from the excess Nigerian cargo and other surrounding countries which hadÂ hitherto used the port as transit hub.
The Port of Cotonou is located in a highly strategic geographical location, whichÂ enables it to act as one of the major supply hubs for sub-Saharan West Africa and toÂ take advantage of the strong growth in cargo traffic inwards for the internationalÂ market of Benin as well as regional transit.
Mr. Nicole Weidig, the Director of Business Development of Bureau Veritas droppedÂ the hint on Tuesday while speaking at the 8th Pan- African Port CooperationÂ Conference held in Arusha, Tanzania.
Weidig Â said Â part of the concession requirement is to fully automate the CotonouÂ Port system to make it more attractive to investors from neighbouring countries, andÂ in particular, make them enjoy the trade and transport facilitation along theÂ Abidjan-Lagos corridor, initiated by the World Bank in April 2010.
He noted that the implementation of the Port Single Window would enable Benin, whichÂ is classified 127th by the World Bank in its 2011 Doing-Business- indicator forÂ Cross Border Trading, to join the Top 100 and achieve its goal of making the port ofÂ Cotonou a high performance regional transit hub towards neighbouring countries, thusÂ furthering the economic growth of the country.
Mr. Weidig said the Benin Minister in-charge of Maritime economy, Mr. Issa BadarouÂ Soule, maritime transport and Port infrastructures signed a ten year contract withÂ their company, explaining that the Port Single Window is scheduled for deliveryÂ within six months.
Mr. Eric Sabatier, the Senior Vice President of Bureau Veritas in-charge ofÂ Government Services and International Trade said the implementation of the PortÂ Single Window of Cotonou will enable Benin to become a technological reference ofÂ the West African Coast.