OUR HISTORY

The Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) is a semi-autonomous organization established by the Ports Act of 1964 (amended in1991).
The major responsibilities of the SLPA are as follows:
  •     To control all Ports and marine activities within its jurisdiction in Sierra Leone.
  •     To operate the Port of Freetown.
  •     To oversee the operations of Nitti and Pepel which are currently operated by private mining companies for       handling bulk exports of Bauxite, Rutile and Iron Ore Until 2001, SLPA also performed regulatory and other duties related to coastal and river transportation. In July 2001, the creation of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) with regulatory powers over maritime transport relieved SLPA of these regulatory functions.
The Port of Freetown is the only port in the country for receiving general commercial cargo and container cargo. Vessels with petroleum products do not berth at the Ports Berthage. Such vessel is provided another facility east of the Ports of Freetown, called the Kissy Oil Jetty, a facility which is currently in dire structural conditions. However, the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) and (SLPA) has signed a 20-year BOT contract with a private operator (Petrol Jetty) for the construction of a new oil jetty. There is currently no refinery facility existing in Sierra Leone.
The main seaport in Sierra Leone is the Ports of Freetown, which is situated in Freetown on the southern bank of the estuary Sierra Leone River between Destruction Bay and Cline Bay. The Port has one of the finest natural harbors on the West African Coast, with a well-protracted anchorage, a draft at berth of between 9 to 11 meters. The quay consists of 6 berths with a total length 1,076.8 meters. The old Quay (Berth 1and 2) was constructed in the early 1950’s and was extended in the 1960’s to included four additional berth (Berth 3,4,5 &6). During the civil war a considerable amount of the Port’s infrastructure was destroyed in the 1997 invasion of the capital and again in 1999 by fighting forces. After the end of the war in 2000, the World Bank provided funds for the rehabilitation and reform of the Ports whilst the World Food Program provided container handling equipment to the Ports to improve on Ports operations. A greater part of the World Bank fund was utilized to undertake Ports rehabilitation works in two phases. Currently SLPA has been transformed from a service Port to a landlord Port with the container terminal operation (Berths 3to6) already to Bollore Africa Logistics and managed by subsidiary company registered in Sierra Leone called Freetown Terminal Limited (FTL), which commenced operations in March 2011. The Breakbulk operation has also been given handling rights for breakbulk cargo. In 2014, the GoSL through NCP in collaboration with SLPA signed a 15-year BOT contract with Holland Shipyards for the construction and operation of the Marine slipway. The GoSL also privatized the shore and ship cargo handling that is now handled by private Port operators all with the aim of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in Ports operations.
Over the past 30 years, the Port facilities administered by the SLPA and as described above have to substantially change in capacity but have new Port locations (extension of the port with 1 berth eastwards) been identified with the current market growth in Port traffic resulting mainly from revamping mining activities coupled with the eminent growth in the container traffic. It is clear that the existing Port facilities are completely inadequate to cope with the foreseen demand of shipping traffic of the 21st century as indicated in the table below.
SHIPPING TRAFFIC
Table 1- Vessel call and cargo throughput at the port of Freetown 2010-2015
 
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
No of Vessels
429
430
494
604
559
461
No of Vehicles
9,138
6,580
7,681
6,238
5,493
7,144
Containers (TEU’s)
21,119
43,174
42,481
43,170
40,869
46,427
Breakbulk/Gen Cargo
122,282
101,524
138,874
158,124
144,785
135,333
Dry Bulk (import)
231,219
497,142
396,973
221,963
294,298
318,657