Ivory Coast began construction on Tuesday of a four-year, 560 billion CFA franc ($962 million) project to build a second container terminal and widen the canal leading to its main port in the commercial capital Abidjan.
Among the busiest in sub-Saharan Africa, the port serves Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy and the world's top cocoa producer, and is also a gateway for landlocked nations to the north.
China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd was awarded the construction contracts for both projects with the bulk of the cost covered by a loan from China's Eximbank.
Construction of the new container terminal, which will be managed by consortium led by France
's Bollore, will last 48 months and cost 409 billion CFA francs.
It is expected to allow Abidjan to increase container traffic from 1.2 million TEU to 3 million TEU by 2020.
The upgrades to the canal linking the port to the Atlantic Ocean will
be completed in 36 months at a cost of 151 billion CFA francs.
($1 = 582.1900 CFA francs)
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Joe Bavier and Ken Wills)