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Liberia Project – Transport component: Port of Monrovia


port of Monrovia


The World Bank Team, headed by the Task Team Leader Gylfi Palsson, supported by a number of World Bank experts, by the Country Manager and staff of the Liberia Country Office in Monrovia, and by contracted consultants, has been involved in the following activities:

Port Assessment and Rehabilitation

The first World Bank mission to Liberia to assess the status of the Port of Monrovia was executed mid-2004. Due to years of civil war there had been no maintenance and there had been a lot of looting. The main cargo handling facility, the marginal wharf, was in a poor shape and was feared to be close to collapse in a few sections. There were at least 8 wrecks in the port and the capsized vessel Torm Alexandra at the marginal wharf was blocking about 200 of the 600 meters of the marginal wharf. Sediment had entered the port entrance channel that was silting up fast. Roads in the port were very bad and during the rainy season part of the port was under water.

On the basis of the findings of this mission, the World Bank drafted and issued a Call for Expression of Interest (EoI) to execute an overall Port of Monrovia Assessment at the end of 2004. In early 2005 the contract was awarded to RoyalHaskoning (RHK). By the end of 2005 RHK submitted a Final Assessment Report (FAS) indicating two types of interventions:

  • Emergency work (short term),
  • Rehabilitation work (longer term), and
  • The port masterplan (vision).

In May of 2005, a workshop was held with all stakeholders to present the consultant's initial findings and its long term masterplan. The main purpose of the workshop was to explain the selection of emergency work prepared by the consultant. This selection had been made on the basis of prioritization criteria. The final selection of emergency actions on the basis of emergency and available funds was as follows:

  • Dredging of the entrance channel,
  • Rehabilitation of the oil jetty,
  • Provision of firefighting equipment for the port.

The construction of a new marginal wharf was also identified as one of the highest priorities, but the funds to provide for the estimated costs were not available. In order to prepare the emergency work and the terms of reference, a number of in-depth technical surveys were executed such as the bathymetric survey of the entrance channel and the port area, the underwater inspection of the marginal wharf and the oil jetty, a detailed technical inspection of the only tug boat available, as well as an environmental quick scan.

The dredging of the port to a depth of -10.5 meters was successfully executed in 2007. The planned rehabilitation of the oil jetty could not be realized as there was no interest of contractors, and in 2009 it was therefore decided to construct a new fuel unloading facility (5 possible concepts have been reviewed by the stakeholders after which the bidding documents will be prepared). The estimate is that the new facility will be operational in the second half of 2012.

In view of the concessioning of the container handling operations, the paving of a new container stacking area was also earmarked as a priority, and work started in 2008. Unfortunately the contract was terminated as the local contractor was unable to complete the work. Since then, the paving of the container stack has been extended with the rehabilitation of a number of connecting roads so as to achieve better port traffic circulation; and thereby higher efficiency. This part of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

The investigations carried out concluded that the marginal wharf was in very poor structural state, but that a total collapse of the structure was highly unlikely. With assistance of UNMIL a bailey bridge was placed on the marginal wharf to bridge the large gap in the quay and improve port traffic circulation.

Port Sector Reform 

In the first years of engagement the World Bank and the other donors focused on emergency measures and rehabilitation to ensure the port functioning. There was also concern about the quality and performance of the cargo handling activities and of marine services (pilotage and towage). The World Bank decided to also engage in this field as poor services were obstructing the supply chain and increasing the costs of import. The NPA cargo handling equipment was, and still is, of very poor quality and limited in numbers and capacity. Therefore the NPA decided to enter into contracts with equipment suppliers.

The World Bank engaged a consultant to develop a Container Terminal Contract (CTC), and a Marine Services Contract (MSC). Before the issuing of the Request for Proposals (RfP) the Government of Liberia indicated that it did not agree with shipping lines engaged in providing these services. The World Bank accepted this point of view but engaged in discussions with the Government to develop a completely new port strategy. In December 2007, agreement was reached to change the management structure of the NPA from Public Service Port into Landlord Port thereby following the global trend. This included the concessioning of the major cargo handling activities and the marine services to the private sector via a competitive bidding process. Two additional consultancy projects were initiated through international competitive tendering:

  • Public Private Partnership Transaction (PPPT) 
    This study has resulted in the finalization of a tendering process for the handling of containers and general cargoes, as well as the provision of marine services and a Draft Concession Agreement. Through an international bidding process, a reputed international terminal operating company was selected as the preferred bidder. The final contract negotiations between the Government of Liberia and the preferred bidder took place in May of 2010, and it is expected that the operating company will engage in the Port of Monrovia before the end of the year.
  • NPA Reform Support (NRS) 
    The NRS study has offered a thorough analysis of all sectors of the present NPA. The various reports (covering Legal, Finance, IT, Human Resources and NPA Business Plan) have been produced and the results and recommendations have been discussed with the NPA and other stakeholders. Now that the concession agreement is about to be signed, the transformation of the NPA into a landlord port manager has been initiated with support and guidance of the consultant CPCS.

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