Africa Transport Technical Note No. 12

The note discusses the container traffic, based on data collected, which for the West, and Central African Coast, from Mauritania to Angola, the container cargo flow shows unequal distribution. This can be explained by the variation in population density, but also by the concentration of regional trade in the Gulf of Guinea. For the purpose of examining unit cost difference between a best example of a current multiple port call system, and a hypothetical optimal hub, and spoke system, the region from Senegal to Cameroon was selected, in order to reflect a common route system in the West Africa-Europe trade, where containerization of cargo is more prevalent, and, because the area is more reliable than the rest of the region. Although the comparison indicates the region would be marginally better off under the hub and spoke system, it also shows the stripped unit cost difference is not pronounced. The only clear winner would be the hub, Abidjan, where alternatively all West African ports would be losers, and as such, Abidjan would reap all benefits, while in terms of cost, and to an extent service level, all other ports would be worse off. In sum, findings do not indicate a clear cut case for, or against a hub and spoke system in the region, for estimated benefits are not conclusive enough, changes in service levels are unbalanced in favor of the hub, but with no substantial lowering of overall costs.

File Type: 
Date of Publication (Year): 
Dec 1997
Gylfi Palsson