Port Development and Competition in East and Southern Africa: Prospects and Challenges: Main Report



Richard Martin Humphreys, Aurelio Menendez, & Benedictus Eijbergen | World Bank Group


Since 2005 the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have displayed strong and consistent economic performance, averaging GDP growth of 5 percent per year—despite the global financial crisis in 2009 and the slight downturn in 2016.

In East and Southern Africa (ESA), freight volumes have been growing at 9 percent per year through some of the key ports, with transit consignments to land-locked countries growing at 16.5 percent per year until relatively recently. These growth trends are expected to continue in the medium term.

Against this backdrop, many of the main ports have struggled to meet the challenge of current growth, let alone that projected over the medium to long term. The resultin many cases has been high ship waiting times, high berth occupancies, and congestion on both the land and maritime side, among other things; all contributing to increased transport costs.

The response has seen all the ESA ports either implementing or planning significant capacity enhancements, primarily relying on public investment. In addition to the proposals to develop existing ports, there are also plans—at various stages of preparation and implementation—to develop new greenfield ports at Lamu in Kenya, now under construction, and Bagamoyo in Tanzania, now in the planning stage.

The report covers the 15 main ports in ESA: Djibouti, Berbera, Lamu, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Nacala, Maputo, Beira, Durban, This report presents the findings from a number of separate strands of work, which collectively seek to answer the following questions: (i) are the proposed capacity enhancements justified by current and projected demand; (ii) what is the current performance of the ports, relative to regional and global peers, in terms of spatial and operating efficiency; (iii) which ports are likely to become regional hubs, and which are more likely to become subregional or feeder ports; (iv) is the current approach to increasing capacity—a balance between maritime capacity enhancement and rectifying other impediments to port efficiency— appropriate in the ESA subregion; and (v) what are the other necessary actions for the main ports from an institutional, policy, and operational perspective to ensure the ports deliver what is needed to enable local and regional economic development and trade.

WB Main-Report

[To view the original report, click here]

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