Abidjan: Improved Vridi Canal Opens

Abidjan’s Abidjan's Vridi Canal linking the port to the Atlantic Ocean

First built in 1950 to provide deepwater access from the Atlantic Ocean to the port of Abidjan on the Ebrié Lagoon, the Vridi Canal has just been widened and deepened to accommodate container ships with a draft of up to 16 metres and a 10,000 TEU capacity, as opposed to the previous maximum draft of 12 metres and TEU capacity of 3,500.

The enlarged canal was inaugurated with all due pomp and circumstance on 21 February 2019 to facilitate access for vessels calling at Abidjan’s second container terminal which should be completed in 2020.  The new terminal will be managed by Bolloré.

The inauguration ceremony

In addition to the canal and second container terminal, the 1.2 billion Euro port development plan includes new road and grain terminals, as well as improvements to the existing fruit and mineral ore terminals.

85% of the project is financed by the Ivorian State through a loan obtained from China Exim Bank while the remaining 15% of funds come from the private sector.  The construction is being carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company.

The Director of Abidjan’s Port Authority has stated that his aim is to make Abidjan the top port on the Atlantic Coast of Africa.

Up to now, the port of Lomé (Togo) was more easily accessible for large container ships but Abidjan remains the leading port in terms of overall cargo with a total of 24 million tons handled in 2018 and more expected in the future.


Information provided by Budd Abidjan

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