Business in Cameroon | Currently, there are skirmishes between Douala Port (PAD) and Rougier group, owner of Société forestière et industrielle de la Doumé (SFID), installed in Mbang and in Djoum. These skirmishes are due to the report recently submitted, by Rougier, to Poitiers administrative court in France. In the report, Rougier group informed that its financial difficulties were partly due to the “chronic backlog at the port of Douala”. The information has been relayed by some international media but, in a statement published on March 16, 2018, PAD qualified the statement as “unfounded”.
“The managing director of Douala port strenuously denies such allegation which is all contrary to reality”, the statement informed. According to the port’s authority, port statistics show that between 2016 and 2017, the handling activities of Rougier group increased by 93% as far as logs are concerned and 100% for sawn, treated and exported woods. “So, such growth is contrary to the claims of this group which had, by the way, benefited from the terminal facilities allowed by authorities such as Cameroon’s customs”, the statement read. The authority then concludes that Douala port couldn’t be held accountable for the group’s problems as logistics and external trade operations are seamlessly conducted in the port.
The statement also explains that to avoid backlogs at the port and ensure the fluidity and celerity of port operations (exports mainly), public authorities, the local port authorities and the actors of external trade chain keep watch and make the necessary adjustments. Moreover, to improve the performance of the port logistics chain and consolidate its competitiveness, PAD plans to launch a vast port infrastructure and equipment renovation and renewal operation this year.
Therefore, Cyrus Ngo’o, the port’s managing director “wishes to reassure, all the stakeholders and national as well as international economic operators, that the port authority is continually making efforts to ensure the effective fluidity of Cameroon and neighboring countries’ external trade operations at Douala port”.
For the record, Rougier group announced on February 14, 2018, that it was confronted with persisting difficulties in Cameroon. According to the group, in 2017, its turnover has contracted by 7.5%. Consequently, the employees of the subsidiary in Cameroon are already technically unemployed and there are ongoing negotiations to sell its shares and refocus its activities on targeted activities. It should also be reminded that Rougier’s subsidiaries in Central Africa and in Congo are also bankrupted.