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The Gambia: Unlocking river transport to new destinations

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A new boat service for freight could reduce transport costs and traffic from the port of Banjul to trade spots. 

The Challenge

Currently, The Gambia does not have access to a river transport system. The country has to rely on roads to carry freight from the capital to the hinterlands and neighbouring countries. Yet, experts and stakeholders agree that river transport presents a more competitive, reliable and safer alternative.

As such, InfraCo Africa hired CPCS to assist The Gambia in developing a new boat service for freight. 

What we did  

As development advisors, CPCS completed three tasks under this mandate:

  • Market study: Assessed the demand and the economic viability of the river transport service
  • Due diligence: Validated legal and regulatory compliance and developed a model to test financial viability
  • Pre-feasibility studies: Studied environmental and social red-flags and researched options for barges and warehouses

In addition, CPCS considered the development of berthing facilities and a dry-port terminal in the small town of Basse — 400 km inland from Banjul and close to the Senegalese border.

“Unlocking a country’s economic potential is a privilege,” says Asim Jahangir, transaction advisory expert at CPCS. “The real work is to revitalize the river and improve linkage with the West African market.” 

Impact 

The Gambia can reap many benefits as river transport opens up:

  • Lower transportation costs to the hinterlands and neighbouring countries 
  • More reliable transport service
  • Lower congestion at the Port of Banjul 
  • Development of Basse as a trading hub