GPA set to sign agreement with Albayrak to invest in Banjul Port

Jul 3, 2024, 1:45 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Ousman Jobateh, the managing director for the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has disclosed that as part of the Ports expansion project, GPA would be engaging Albayrak & Negmar Consortium for the  design, build, finance, manage, operate and hand back the Port of Banjul Container Terminal and the development of a Deep Seaport at Sanyang.

MD Jobateh made the remarks yesterday, Tuesday during a staff sensitisation meeting held at GPA premises in Banjul. He said the public-private partnership will enable Albayrak & Negmar Consortium to invest in Banjul Ports for the next 35 years to improve the port capacity.

The concession he stated is modelled along the lines of a grantor and shareholder arrangement, meaning the government or GPA is both the landlord and shareholder in the concession.

He said that the agreement is due to be signed this month (July). However, he added that there will be a 6-month precedent condition before the contract becomes effective.

MD Jobateh highlighted that the interest of the staff is fully protected in the agreement, noting that all staff will be transferred to the new operator. “One of the non-negotiable things in the agreement with the private operator is that all staff jobs will be protected and also improved.”

“All jobs particularly those under operations will be transferred to the private operator and the port remains as a regulator.”

He noted that lately, the Port of Banjul has been grappling with capacity improvement challenges, and as such they developed a master-plan to increase the capacity of the port to compete better with neighbouring ports.

He explained that they launched an international tender to invite private operators to bid and 10 international firms and one local company bade. He added that three operators were selected.

He further disclosed that when the report was sent to government in August 2023, a Conditional Notice of Award was issued to Albayrak & Negmar Consortium for the design, build, finance, manage, operate and hand back the Port of Banjul Container Terminal and the development of a Deep Seaport at Sanyang.

The basis of the decision by the government was to invoke the Strategic Commercial Fit, which was part of the evaluation criteria for the Port of Banjul Container Terminal Concession, launched through International Competitive Bidding (ICB). He added that the Consortium proposed the development of the new Deep Seaport, which the government wishes to explore.

The Port MD explained that the decision was guided by the need to mitigate the climate risks that Banjul is exposed to in terms of sea level rise and perennial sedimentation in the estuary and the restrictions for further capacity expansion within the City.

Jobateh also stated that the Port of Banjul will still be grappling with the same problem for the next 20 years mainly because Banjul is an estuary and the increase sedimentation requires frequent dredging.“In the next 20 years with all this investment, we will come back to the same problem and that is why the option of having a deep seaport port in Sanyang was invoked.”

“Our capacity to expand in the city is constrained by the fact that we are surrounded by residential neighbourhood and business activity.”

He said that a new port will ensure bigger ships come to the country, reduce cost of trade so that the Port could address challenges they encounter in Banjul; develop its shipyard, have inland ports in Kaur and Basse, ensure trucks coming from Mali to Banjul only stop at Basse, ensure preservation of our roads and reduce pollution and accidents.

“If we do not increase our capacity, we will lose business. If we have to stay relevant and survive the competition we have to up our game by reaching out to private investors,” he noted.