Suhail Al Banna, CEO and managing director of DP World Middle East and Africa, and Moulaye Ahmad Boubacar, Mali’s Minister of Equipment and Transport, at the signing of the concession deal in Dubai. Image Credit: Organisers

Dubai: DP World said on Wednesday it has signed a 20-year deal to build and operate a new logistics hub in Mali, with an initial investment of $50 million (Dh183.5 million).

The deal was signed with the Republic of Mali, and has an automatic 20-year extension. It will see DP World build and operate a 1,000-hectare facility outside the capital city of Bamako.

The facility, Mali Logistics Hub, will have a capacity of 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), and will have inland container depots and container freight stations that will facilitate importing and exporting.

The first phase, with an estimated investment of $50 million, will include a container depot and freight facilities to support trade and the Malian economy. Construction is expected to start in 2019, DP World said in a statement, and will take around 18 months to complete.

Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said the Malian market is expected to grow over the next 20 years, driven by “robust economic and population growth.”

“The Mali Logistics Hub is much needed and will provide the country with a logistics platform that aims to facilitate the import and export of goods via the Port of Dakar, which is operated by DP World,” he said in a statement.

Boosting trade

Bin Sulayem added that the hub will “significantly cut processing times” for goods, thus boosting trade in the landlocked West African country.

The Logistics Hub will be located on the main road connecting Dakar in Senegal to Bamako, and it will be close to the Dakar-Bamako rail line.

Under the deal, DP World will provide the Republic of Mali with three locomotive trains to boost cargo and passenger traffic along the Bamako-Dakar rail system. DP World will also implement its online facilitation platform to accelerate the movement of goods.