(Clarifies in paragraph 5 that Maersk will be financing part of container terminal)
ABIDJAN, March 27 (Reuters) - French industrial conglomerate Bollore aims to invest 400 million euros ($496.28 million) from next year to build a second container terminal at Ivory Coast’s main port of Abidjan, the deputy CEO of its transport and logistics division told Reuters.
Philippe Labonne, deputy CEO of Bollore Transport and Logistics, spoke on the sidelines of an African CEO conference in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital late on Monday.
The main port of Abidjan is used to ship cocoa beans from the world’s top cocoa producer, and is also a vital supply and export route for landlocked countries to the north. Ivory Coast authorities want the port to become a regional hub.
“We start in June or July 2019,” he told Reuters. “It’s a question of building a platform and setting up the port equipment.”
He said the project would be financed in part by partner Maersk and in part by Bollore, and the new terminal would be operational from June 2020.
Port authorities were, with Chinese help, already widening the canal leading to the port to reach a 16 metre depth that would enable larger ships to dock, he said.
They aimed to boost terminal capacity by around 15 percent from its current roughly 1.2 million TEU (20-foot container units). ($1 = 0.8060 euros) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)