Authorities of the Douala Port Authority (PAD) have denied reports that Cameroon’s two landlocked neighbours viz; the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) have disengaged importation through President Biya’s country in favour of Congo’s Pointe Noire Port.
The Secretary General of PAD, Dieudonne Onana Ndoh, in multiple outings on the State broadcaster (CRTV) and different social media platforms has been debunking the development. He says the “information is false and completely unfounded”.
Onana argues that Chad and CAR have rather initiated partnerships with certain ports in the Sub Region with whom PAD also has agreements.
In a series of repeated news cast Saturday December 29, the PAD Scribe told CRTV that the new agreements are meant to enable shippers in the concerned countries diversify their sea routes and enhance their business interest.
The State media however inferred that shippers from CAR and Chad have of recent raised concerns over corruption, administrative bottle necks and insecurity on the Douala-Djamena (Chad) and Douala-Bangui (CAR) road corridors.
In a sort of bidding in favour of PAD, the State broadcaster asserted that the Seaport of Douala remains the shortest and safest for shippers from both countries to do business.
However, in a further statement on the same issue published on PAD’s facebook page, Onana seemingly aware of the allegations stifling business at the Douala Port said modernisation mechanisms were on course.
“The autonomous Port of Douala has been engaged for two years in a vast process of standardisation, innovation and development. It is a question of raising the port to acceptable international standards and to make it attractive and competitive. The modernisation of infrastructure is underway”.
The PAD Scribe disclosed that Chad and CAR “have just taken spaces at the Port of Douala-Bonaberi to build warehouses. The CAR has an advanced customs Post at the Port (PAD)”.
Onana said, PAD has in recent years created permanent representations in the two countries as a means of getting its services closer to clients.
Cameroon’s leading online Newspaper The National Times reported about a May 30, 2018 accord which Congolese Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation and Marine Merchandise, Fidele Dimou, alongside his CAR counterpart Theodore Jousso signed.
The National Times reported on December 26 that news of the accord was only made public recently.
The agreement between both countries is focused on promoting the shipping of goods between both countries. The National Times brought to the public knowledge details of the accord it read through as putting the itinerary of the transit of goods to be “from the Autonomous Port of Pionte Noire through the Congo-Ocean Railway, the road corridor via National Roads number I and II as well as by boat from the Congo River”.
The National Times understands that Chad has reduced its imports through Cameroon by 50 percent. Chad is rather doing the rest of its maritime business with Sudan. Despite the face-saving arguments and explanations from PAD officials, observers say such only point to the country losing billions as result of an unfavourable business climate.