November 20, 2020

Inland Ports - Abidjan, Ivory Coast

The world's coastline is very big and 13% of the total world coastline consists of lagoons. A lagoon is an area of relatively shallow and quiet water with very limited access to the sea and separated from the sea by sand bars, barrier islands or coral reefs.

Coral lagoons you can find in warm waters where coral thrive. Coastal lagoons can be found basically anywhere. Inside, behind the sand bars it often looks like big lakes.

That is the case with the great inland port of Abidjan. It was originally a small fishing village. In 1903 it officially became a town. Abidjan is situated on the edge of the lagoon N'dopé which means the lagoon in hot water.

In 1950 Abidjan's lagoon was connected to the sea by a 15-meter-deep canal named Vridi Canal. The canal enabled the inland port of Abidjan to grow to a substantial and important inland harbour. Not only serving Ivory Coast, but also important for Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, which were connected by road and railway to the port of Abidjan.

The port received approximately 20 million tons of traffic with a substantial part of petroleum products too. Exports include cocoa, coffee, timber, bananas, pineapples and manganese.

Abidjan is a very beautiful port to arrive to. Being outside Ivory Coast in the Gulf of Guinea, going closer to the shore you see only beautiful beaches with palm trees. But, suddenly a small opening emerges, which is the entrance to Vridi Canal. It takes time to go through the canal, but then you arrive to the beautiful lagoon and in the distance you see a lot of ships and the port of Abidjan. The lagoon is named after the local language, the Ebrie lagoon. But nowadays French is the most spoken language.

You also see skyscrapers. Abidjan is a unique city in Africa. It is nicknamed Manhattan of the Tropics, Small Manhattan or the Pearl of Lagoons. With a population of approximately five million, it is one of the most populated cities in Africa, along with Lagos, Kinshasa, Cairo, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and Alexandria.

Abidjan is truly a very special inland port located on the most beautiful lagoon, characterized by a high level of industrialization and urbanization. The Pearl of the Lagoons, indeed.