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Why Does cargo spend weeks in African ports ? the case of Douala, Cameroon


  • Refas, Salim
  • Cantens, Thomas


This paper investigates the main factors explaining long container dwell times in African Ports. Using original and extensive data on container imports in the Port of Douala, it seeks to provide a basic understanding of why containers stay on average more than two weeks in gateway ports in Africa while long dwell times are widely recognized as a critical hindrance to economic development. It also demonstrates the interrelationships that exist between logistics performance of consignees, operational performance of port operators and efficiency of customs clearance operations. Shipment level analysis is used to identify the main determinants of long cargo dwell times and the impact of shipment characteristics such as fiscal regime, density of value, bulking and packaging type, last port of call, and region of origin or commodity group on cargo dwell time in ports is tested. External factors, such as performance of clearing and forwarding agents, shippers and shipping line strategies, also play an important role in the determination of long dwell times. Cargo dwell time distribution has many specificities, including broad-tail, high variance or right-censoring, which requires in-depth statistical analysis prior to any design of policy recommendations.

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  • Refas, Salim & Cantens, Thomas, 2011. "Why Does cargo spend weeks in African ports ? the case of Douala, Cameroon," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5565, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5565

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Simone CASCHILI & Francesca MEDDA, 2015. "The Port Attractiveness Index:Application On African Ports," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 41, pages 47-82.
    2. Kgare, Tshepo & Raballand, Gael & Ittmann, Hans W., 2011. "Cargo dwell time in Durban : lessons for Sub-Saharan African ports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5794, The World Bank.
    3. Patricia Sourdin & Richard Pomfret, 2012. "Trade Facilitation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14596.
    4. Beuran, Monica & Mahihenni, Mohamed Hadi & Raballand, Gael & Refas, Salim, 2012. "The impact of demand on cargo dwell time in ports in SSA," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6014, The World Bank.

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    Common Carriers Industry; Transport and Trade Logistics; Transport Economics Policy&Planning; E-Business; Customs and Trade;

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