Angola Upgrades Port as It Aims to Be Africa’s Busiest Hub

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Written by Colin McClelland and Manuel Soque | From Bloomberg

Angola’s main port installed new cranes and provided more training to reduce its cargo unloading time by 80 percent as the government reviews a plan to build Africa’s biggest shipping terminal.

Vessel turnaround times at Luanda were cut to an average of three days last year from 16 days in 2008, Alberto Antonio Bengue, port administrator for commercial, safety and environmental affairs, said in an interview at his office. That compares with 2.5 days for container ships at South Africa’s Durban port, the continent’s busiest.

“We have invested in modern loading and unloading infrastructure, human capital and a port pier,” Bengue said. “We plan to increase the number of containers handled to more than a million by the end of this year.”

Container traffic at Luanda has more than doubled over the past five years to 912,900 20-foot equivalent units in 2013, according to Bengue. While that’s only a third of the containers handled at Durban last year, Angola is planning a new port at Dande, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the main Empresa Portuaria de Luanda EP. That facility would challenge the South African port as a regional hub for landlocked countries such as copper-rich Zambia, Bengue said.

Busiest Port

Durban, Africa’s busiest port according to the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, handled 44.8 million metric tons of cargo in 2013-14, the port’s Business Strategy Manager Marina Petersen said on April 24.

Luanda port processes about 80 percent of cargo shipped to Angola, where imports account for almost all of manufactured goods in the market as the country recovers from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

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