What you need to know about the proposed Sulima seaport


An ideal location for a seaport at Sulima, Sierra Leone

1.1 Background
FREETOWN, (CAJ News) – SULIMA is one of the most strategic opportunities to explore in realizing the fullest economic potentials of Sierra Leone.

The prospect of having a seaport at Sulima can greatly help in realizing the economic development goals of a nation that has been over dependent on minerals for far so long. A sea port at Sulima will create improved maritime and shipping activities in the country, expansion in local and foreign trade and competition and economic growth.

Sulima sits at the bellies of two major rivers emptying into the Atlantic ocean that have impacted on the life of Sierra Leone from time in memorial.

Developing a new sea port at Sulima requires International partnership as it is capital intensive and highly technical. The project may aspire to efficiently integrate the port with industrial clusters, the new residential areas, the hotel resort areas through road, rail and coastal waterways. This would enable port to drive economic activity in coastal areas of Sulima.

Recent explorations indicate large deposits of oil and other minerals offshore ocean around Sulima. Diamonds and associated minerals are said to be in large quantities in the area making the entire Pujehun district a very rich natural mineral hub and a prospect for the new port.

With beautiful year-round moderate temperature, an abundance of sea life, of diamonds and associated minerals, the Pujehun district is primed for new economic growth and commercial expansion.

In view of the above, the Sierra Leone Ports Authority request the preparation of a Preliminary study for the Sulima port design.

1.2 Scope of the works
The scope of the work are the following:
o The Sulima Port project will occupy approximately a 10 000 acre area surrounding the Port and town of Sulima,

o Physical and geographical description of the future location of the port of Sulima, to have a clear idea of the basic data for the future design and construction of the port.

o Make a projection of the future traffic of containers and merchandises

o Define the type of ships that will use the port

o Once the characteristics of the ships have been defined, the berths will be pre-designed

o Description of the different environment impacts that the construction of the port will generate on the environment and a brief description of how to mitigate them.

o Project risks analyses

o Breakdown of the costs of the Port of Sulima

o Essentially, the scope of development will be to design and build an entire planned community surrounding a deep water port including but not limited to: Public works projects, waste, energy, sewer, schools and training facilities, hospitals, police, port authority services, hospitality, social and community needs, residential, parks and recreation services, oil services base, oil storage, general cargo terminal, container terminal, business, industrial and manufacturing park, fishery services, transportation needs including: rail, air and sea, and more.

o Financial analysis
The financial study will determine important ratios to make the decision to invest in the project and carry it out. The ratios analyzed are the Net Present Value (NPV) and the Internal Rate Return (IRR).

Key considerations in the study are expected to include:
Maximizing utilization of existing structures;
Minimizing life cycle costs, considering the balance between capital and maintenance costs, construction risks and challenges, including seasonal and timing challenges, temporary works and access, geotechnical risks and associated uncertainty in capital cost estimates;
Operational risks, including maritime safety, equipment requirements and comparative operations and maintenance requirements;
Environmental, land and social risks and opportunities;
Potential for future expansion and or/ climate proofing; and potential to facilitate, economic opportunities (e,g. phosphate mining, lime and coral aggregates) to reduce the incremental cost in future for the construction of such infrastructures

Sulima Site Location
Sulima is a town in the extreme south east of Sierra Leone. Lying at the mouth of the Moa River in the Pujehun District, Southern Province of Sierra Leone. Sulima is about 406 kilometers from the Capital city, Freetown. Sulima is a coastal town that has borders with Liberia.

Why Sulima Port?
The port of Sulima, thanks to its geographical situation and its location in deep waters, has all the advantages to become the port HUB of the Western African sub-region.
Sulima’s strategic advantages to become a port HUB are the following:
The port is located in deep water; therefore, the current modern large transport vessels will be able to enter the port every day of the year without restrictions as a result of shallow draft in the navigation channel. Lowering the cost of transport compared to other ports where it is only possible for the arrival of ships with smaller draft and with less volume of transport. The port of Sulima will have a draft of 20m approximately, much greater than the nearby ports such as Conakry (12m), Freetown (12m) or Monrovia (11m). The draft data has been obtained from the Bollore Ports website
Due to the geographic and strategic location:
o It can serve three countries The port of Sulima is located near the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia..
o Moreover, Sulima is the natural and shortest exit to the Republic of Mali (a country without a sea front and bordering Sierra Leone to the North). See below a comparative table of road distance from Bamako to nearby ports in the area,

MALI             NEARBY PORTS                      DISTANCE (KM)
Bamako         Sulima (Sierra Leone)               915km
Bamako         Conakry (Guinea)                     973km
Bamako         Dakar (Senegal)                       1,260km
Bamako        Abidjan (Cote D’ Ivoire)             1.122km

o And finally , it is located at a shortest distance from Conahry (Guinea ) than some large citiers in western Guinea located in the provinces of Guinea forestiere (Nzerekore less than 161km) and Haute Guinea (Kankan less than 111 km).Thus as the previous case, Sulima can be the port of entry/exit for imports/exports from these provinces of Guinea.
o It is the shortest distance between South America and the African Continent. Being able to favour trade with South America, and have a wider market to export their products.
o Another advantage of the Sulima port location is its proximity to the large Bauxite and Titanium mines in Sierra Leone, the graphite and iron mines in Guinea, and the iron and magnesium mines in Mali. Thus Sulima could be the port of departure for all these minerals to the destination points with large bulk transport vessels.

Meteorological Data
Sulima is located at the elevation of 16.08 meters above sea level. Sulima has a Tropical monsoon climate (classification Am)

The wind data has been taken from the website https://es.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Sulima

The district’s yearly temperature is 29.38oC and it is 1.77% higher than Sierra Leone’s averages.

Visibility is good throughout the year at Sulima Port area. On an average, visibility is well above 7 km for 320 days in a year. The meteorological data has been taken from https:/worldweatheronline.com

Connectivity to port site
Though the port location does not have any direct connectivity by rail, it would be interesting to connect the port of Sulima to the existing railway in the city of Kenema (the third largest city in the east of Sierra Leone), in order to speed up transport of goods to Freetown and the interior of the country. As well as improving the existing infrastructure between Kenema and Freetown.

Existing Road Connectivity
The current road from the country’s second city of Bo City to the Liberia border is paved.

In conclusion, the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) solicit interested partners for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for this viable business opportunity.

NB: Dr. Abdulai Fofana is General Manager at Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA).

– CAJ News


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