French firm Necotrans and the Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services submitted bids on Monday to operate Guinea Bissau’s main port, the transport minister said, as the government looks to cede control to a private operator.
The main port in the capital Bissau, which is small and can only be serviced at high tide by some cargoes, has been operated by a state agency ever since the government stripped Portugal-based operator Tertir of the concession rights in 1999. The winner of the contract will also pay the 5.9 million euro ($6.9 million) debt the government was ordered by an arbitrator to compensate Tertir for breaking its contract, Forbes said.
“The French company Necotrans and the Philippines’ ICTSI are neck-and-neck to exploit the commercial port of Bissau,” Transport Minister Fidelis Forbes told reporters in Bissau. The government will select the operator next month, he said.
A former Portuguese colony, cashew-producing Guinea-Bissau is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. It lies mostly between latitudes 11° and 13°N (a small area is south of 11°), and longitudes 13° and 17°W. At 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi), the country is larger in size than Taiwan or Belgium. The terrain of is mostly low coastal plain with swamps of Guinean mangroves rising to Guinean forest-savanna mosaic in the east.