- Over the last decade the volume of general and containerized cargo moving through Africa’s ports has trebled, but further growth in container traffic will require additional investments.
- Too many ports handle Africa’s maritime trade traffic-few of them large enough to attract major shipping lines.
- Many ports are poorly equipped and inefficiently operated, falling well short of international best practice.
- Turning port performance around will require institutional reforms.
Since the mid-1990s, general and containerized cargo passing through Africa’s ports has tripled in volume. Yet port efficiency and performance are below international best practices. Even though ports have been largely deregulated, many African countries encounter high port tariffs that discourage traffic and increase costs. Ports are also constrained by other operational and regulatory bottlenecks. Ports are often not large enough to attract direct calls from international shipping lines, underscoring the importance of developing regional trans-shipment hubs. Policy solutions include adapting a 'landlord' system that adheres to business principles that uphold international best practices.