(Togo First) – PIA Togo inaugurated its dry port at the end of the previous week. The port, established by a presidential decree issued three months ago, has received its first four containers.
The equipment received will be used to test yard density, review and optimize container storage, PIA’s management informed.
The dry port, or Inland Container Depot (ICD), spans over 20 ha and can receive up to 12,500 containers. It should help free some space at the Autonomous Port of Lomé. Located along the Lomé-Ouagadougou-Niamey corridor, it has a parking area for trucks moving in and out of Lomé’s main port, custom borders, and Togo’s economic regions. For the nine coming years, the ICD is the only approved area to receive these vehicles, in the maritime region.
In addition, handling and transhipping of all goods bound for the main port will take place at the dry port. A strategic move, considering that Togo intends to become the main logistics hub in West Africa and a gateway promoting international trade with landlocked countries in the region.
“This dry and free port will be the only place of delivery, storage, and completion of customs formalities for import and export, goods under suspensive customs regime, those under warehouses and areas of clearance, in transit or from border countries and which are to be exported by sea,” the government said last May.
The inland port should also enable the State to have reliable data on exported and imported goods. This will be done by connecting the data systems of the port’s single window, handling terminals, customs offices, and the PIA.
Many actors of the sector add that the infrastructure will ease traffic at port terminals and control costs. At the same time, they forecast, it should help Togo better compete against countries like Senegal (Dakar’s port), Nigeria (Lagos), Cameroon (Kribi), and Rwanda (Kigali).
Besides, the newly-inaugurated port is a key tool to open up landlocked countries, giving them access to international maritime lines. Such infrastructures could, according to some logistics experts, help boost intra-African trade, consequently making African economies more resilient to external shocks.