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Study on Regulation of Private Operators in the Port of Djibouti

2012-06, World Bank

Within a partnership framework with the Emirate of Dubai, the government of Djibouti has developed, during the last decade, an outstanding port and logistics hub with few precedents in other African countries. The objective of the present study is to strengthen the competitiveness of the ports of Djibouti (old port of Djibouti and new port of Doraleh) and ensure their medium-term and long-term development by designing a modern and efficient regulation system for private port operators, and specifically addressing issues related to the quality of service and pricing, in addition to institutional related issues. The port of Djibouti's competitiveness can be measured by its capacity to counter competition from other ports through the quality of its infrastructures and services, performance and port costs. Real or potential competition facing the port of Djibouti concerns non-captive traffic and its two components, transit and transshipment traffic. The port of Djibouti's natural competitors for Ethiopia's transit traffic are the ports of Berbera, Assab, Massawa, Port Soudan and Mombasa due to landlocked Ethiopia's extensive terrestrial borders with Somalia, Eritrea, Soudan, and Kenya. But this competition remains potential and very marginal due to the unfavorable geopolitical context and/or the inferior quality of infrastructures of these ports. Conditions of competition regarding transit traffic could nevertheless evolve as it is in Ethiopia's natural interest to diversify its sea-access routes so as not to depend on a single port that may be tempted to abuse of its dominant position with non-competitive tariffs. Contrary to existing competition on container transshipment traffic, potential competition on transit traffic will have a more considerable impact on all Djibouti port operators in terms of tonnage handled and revenue loss, as it will affect all types of traffic (conventional and containerized, liquid and dry bulk) and because transit charges are considerably more lucrative than transshipment charges. Port activities that need to be regulated to reinforce the port of Djibouti's competitiveness are the commercial services for cargos and vessels provided by port operators.