Kenya and Tanzania have long competed to have the bragging rights for the biggest and most important ports in East Africa. With the Kenyan government currently finish up a huge new port in Lamu while the Tanzania authorities develop one in Bagamoyo, the competition for the regional shipping and logistics business is only going to get fiercer between the two countries.
If both new ports are completed as planned the ports will be bigger and busier than any other ports in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the proposed development of both ports will be achieved in decades rather than a few years, which means that East Africa will have to be content with the ports that it currently has now. With 90 percent of imports and export shipments in Africa being conducted by ocean freight, here are some of the other most important and busiest ports in Africa:
Port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast
This port of Abidjan started its operations in the 1950s and is the biggest port in the West African sub-region. The port of Abidjan also enjoys the second biggest container storage capacity of 20,000 TEUs. Because ships with massive draughts can dock in the port’s deep waters, the port’s importance in Ivory Coast’s economy has been amplified in the past few years.
Durban, South Africa
The Port of Durban is referred to as Africa’s most vigorous general cargo port. The port of Durban is the largest and busiest port in Africa managing to handle on average approximately 2.5 million tons of cargo every year.
Port of Mombasa, Kenya
The port of Mombasa is also referred to as the city of merchants. It has been used for trade as far back as history can remember and it is still instrumental today as it was then. The port of Mombasa is a primary gateway for east and central Africa and it provides a direct link to other ports worldwide. To make freight services between Uganda and Tanzania effortless, there is a railway line from the port that connects the three main east African countries.
Suez Canal, Egypt
The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez. The Suez Canal was opened in 1869 and it grew in popularity because it allowed ships to move between Europe and India without having to navigate around Africa.
The port of Djibouti
The port of Djibouti is situated in the capital city of Djibouti and it links Europe and different countries in the Far East. As a matter of fact, the Chinese government is so involved that it has a state-owned enterprise that is directly involved in the administration and management of the port. Most nations of the world use the port as a navy military outpost although it is also important for Transshipments.
The Tangier Med Port is mainly used by commercial ships and vessels. The Tangier port is one of the youngest ports in the group having only been constructed in 2007. The port was established mainly to deal with the increasing demand in the import and export industry in Morocco.
The port of Lagos, Nigeria
The port of Lagos is Nigeria’s main seaport although it is split into three smaller divisions all of which are situated on the Gulf of Guinea. The port is operated by the Nigerian Port Authority and it handles significant trade from Cameroon, Benin, and Niger.
Saldanha Bay, South Africa
Saldanha Bay in South Africa is a natural deep water port that mainly deals with iron ore exports in the 70s. Because of technological advancements and globalization, the Saldanha Bay has diversified its commodity base to widen the range of goods that pass through the port, which has helped to make it busier than ever.