In February 2018 Djibouti terminated its contract with Dubai's DP World and set up a public company--Societe de Gestion du Terminal a Conteneurs de Doraleh (SGTD)--to run Doraleh Container Port. The port is now expanding rapidly, as its CEO (pictured below) tells Hichem Ben Yaiche and Guillaume Weill-Raynal
What were your priorities when you took office as CEO of Doraleh Container Port in 2018?
Following the takeover of the terminal and of the company by the Djiboutian authorities, we thought it was important to start by carrying out a comprehensive audit in order to identify the measures to be implemented in the short term as well as the action plan for the medium term. The terminal has a solid base of local and regional customers. However, while benefiting from a very favorable geographical position, the terminal has been handling a low volume of international maritime traffic (transshipment). In addition, the service for customers in the Ethiopian hinterland was not found be optimal due to insufficient investments, particularly in terms of space and equipment. Also, the organisation of human resources needed to be optimised.
We set out to resolve these three issues in order to attract international customers and increase the volume of the transshipment segment. We also aim to organise ourselves more efficiently in order to provide better services to our local and regional customers.
Have you turned the page on the former operator, DP World?
Operationally, yes, we have turned the page. We have resolved two out of the three issues I mentioned--we have already made investments in handling equipment and improving the efficiency of our teams and IT resources.
Expanding the space will take a little longer: we have to undertake construction works to extend the terminal storage yard capacity. Since SGTD took over the operations, the overall volume processed by the terminal has increased by 8%. The volume of the international segment (transshipment) has increased sharply--from 6% of the terminal volume to 25%. The productivity level of dockside vessels has also improved by 25% to 30%.
How do you intend to bring in investors?
SGTD aims to offer a first-rate service to local and regional customers. In order to achieve this, we must increase our market share in transshipment by operating the terminal to its full capacity. In addition, storage yards and in the longer term length of quays must be extended. The terminal has the financial capacity to...