Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem and Jose Makila Sumanda, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications, DRC sign the agreement. Image Credit: Courtesy: DP World

Dubai: DP World, the Dubai-based ports operator, announced it has won a 30-year concession for the management and development of a port project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The company said in a statement on Sunday it will make an initial investment in the project of $350 million (Dh1.28 billion), which will be spread over 24 months. The total project cost will be over $1 billion, spread over four phases, but DP World said that will be dependent on market demand for the port.

The deal gives DP World an option to extend its management and development for a further 20 years, and is for a greenfield multi-purpose port at Banana.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and chief executive officer, said he was confident the investment will deliver attractive returns over the longer term, and will contribute to the company’s growth in developing markets.

“Investment in this deepwater port will have a major impact on the country’s trade with significant cost and time savings, attracting more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe, and ultimately, acting as a catalyst for the growth of the country and the region’s economy,” he said.

Construction is expected to start in 2018, and is expected to take 24 months to complete.

DP World will set up a joint venture with 70 per cent control, while the government of the DRC will hold the remaining 30 per cent share.

The Port of Banana will be the first deep-sea port in the country. The first phase will have a container capacity of 350,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and 1.5 million tonnes for general cargo.

The project will allow the DRC to be connected into global trade lanes, giving it access to global markets and reducing its dependency on neighbouring countries’ ports.