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Top 10 most important seaports in Africa

Posted on January 8, 2024

Central to this growth of any economy are seaports. These ports serve as gateways to global trade and play a pivotal role in shaping the economic relationship the world shares. In Africa, this is no different. From the bustling port cities of Lagos in Nigeria to the strategic hub of Durban in South Africa, Africa hosts several seaports that have become somewhat of a monument in the continent’s economic landscape.

Africa’s top seaports are very crucial in connecting the continent to the global economy. The continent’s abundant resources have made it a top destination for purchasing some of the world’s most vital and rarest minerals, oil, cobalt, agricultural products, and more.

The exportation of these products has become fundamental to the sustenance of economies across the region. These ports also help in creating employment and boosting regional corporations.

The significance of seaports begs the question of which ones on the continent are the most vital. Via these ports, billions of dollars flow in and out of the economy.

This is particularly relevant in Africa, seeing as 90% of all traded goods on the continent, according to the African Union, are transported by sea.

The Bird Story Agency, via its Bird TenX series, released a report showing the 10 most important seaports in Africa, according to the volume of trade they handle.

Below are the seaports mentioned.

Situated 45 km northeast of Tangier and across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa, Spain, Tanger Med is a Moroccan industrial port complex with the capacity to handle 9 million 20-foot containers (TEUs). It has the capacity to exports 1 million new vehicles and also transports 7 million passengers and 700,000 trucks annually. It is Africa’s biggest seaport.

This is Egypt busiest port, with a capacity of 5 million tones of 20-foot containers. It is situated in northeastern Egypt, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, and situated largely on reclaimed land.

This is not only South Africa’s largest port, but also the largest port in sub-Saharan Africa. It has a capacity of 2.9 million TEUs, and can handle 600,000 shipped vehicle units. It is located on the east coast of South Africa, 680 nautical miles northwest of Cape Agulhas, and 625 nautical miles south-south-west of the port of Maputo.

This is Nigeria’s most functional and busiest seaport, with a capacity of 2.7, million 20-foot TEUs. It is located in the Southwest region of Lagos, the commercial center of Africa’s largest economy.

Located on the east coast of South Africa, 20 km northeast of Gqeberha, this is one of Africa’s most important deep water container ports, situated within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). it has a capacity of 2 million TEUs.

This port was able to more than double its handling capacity from 1 million TEUs to 2.5 million after adding a second container terminal in December 2022. It is located in Treichville, in southern AbidjanIvory Coast.

Located near Hassan II Mosque, in Casablanca, this seaport is one of the largest artificial seaports ever built, It has a handling capacity of 1.3 million TEUs, and 21.3 million tons of cargo annually.

Popularly referred to as the gate way to East Africa, this monumental seaport located on the coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean, has a capacity of 1.65 million containers annually.

Located 5 km west of Djibouti City, the Port of Doraleh is an extension of the Port of Djibouti, with a handling capacity of 1.65 million containers per year. This port links, Europe, the far, east, the Persian golf and the Horn of Africa.

This port accounts for 70% of all Ghana’s maritime transportation. It has a capacity of 22,000 TEUs, up from just 5000 in 2022. It is Ghana’s busiest port, located in the southeastern part of Ghana, along the Gulf of Guinea.


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