Interview with

Mr. Xavier Berbers & Mr. Pierre Paul Agnero

Managing Director & Logistics Manager
Xavier Berbers / Pierre Paul Agnero

First, tell us about the Ivory Coast. Tell us about the major overseas trading partners, size of the country and what ports are used for trade to and from the Ivory Coast?

The Ivory Coast or. officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a French-speaking country located on the south coast of West Africa. Its largest city and economic capital is the port city of Abidjan. The country borders Guinea, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana. the Ivory Coast has, for the region, a relatively high income per capita (US$1,662 in 2017) and plays a key role in transit trade for neighbouring, landlocked countries. 

The country is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, constituting forty percent of the monetary union’s total GDP. The country is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, and the fourth-largest exporter of goods, in general, in sub-Saharan Africa (following South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola).

In 2017, the major trading partners of IC were Nigeria 15%, France 13.4%, China 11.3%, US 4.3% for imports and Netherlands 11.8%, US 7.9%, France 6.4%, Belgium 6.4%, Germany 5.8%, Burkina Faso 4.5%, India 4.4%, Mali 4.2% for exports.

There are two ports in the Ivory Coast, one in Abidjan and the other one in San Pedro. Abidjan port, first built, is the main port used for both import and exports when San Pedro port is mainly used for commodity exports like cocoa, cashew nuts, etc.

Multiple trucks

Could you elaborate on the history of COMEXAS Ivory Coast?

COMEXAS IC was incorporated in December 2016 and began operating in January 2017. As a kick start business, we handled 4000 and 2000 freight tons of equipment for the building of a gravel grinding plant and a cement plant respectively. That’s what helped the company become known in the local market and help the board of directors to assess the opportunity to invest in the country.

Have you much experience in handling project cargo to and from the Ivory Coast? Would you be able to provide us with some examples of projects you have handled?

In the last two years, the biggest part of our job has been project cargo clearing and forwarding, handling and transportation. You’ll find some examples below:
2018 December: Transhipment of 2 Excavators + 2 CAT bulldozer – 220 metric tons

Bulldozer transhipment
JCB transhipment

2018 February: Olympic Stadium Project – 2560 freight tons
2018 February: Cement Plant project [4th shipment] (Gounioubé) – 2847 freight tons
2017 October: Cement Plant project [2nd shipment] (Gounioubé) – 2090 freight tons
2017 March: Gravel grinding plant project (Azaguié) – 4070 freight tons

loading heavy equipment

Is customs clearance, piracy and/or crime a problem in your country?

No, we don’t experience any complications or issues from any of those.

large quantities of wood

I can see from the map that you are neighbouring several countries. Do you sometimes handle transhipments between Abidjan and other countries/places around you? Would inland transport via Abidjan to Mali be possible and if so, how is it done? By road, river or perhaps rail?

The country borders Guinea, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana. But most transit shipments going through the Ivory Coast are for Mali and Burkina, as they don’t have any coastline.

We have handled many containers and breakbulk shipments to Mali and Burkina as the Ivory Coast has been for long the preferred port of import from those countries.

There’s a railway linking Abidjan and Burkina Faso. So now, if you want to reach Mali via the Ivory Coast, your only options are road and air.

loading a big truck onto a vessel

Are you currently a member of any international networks and if so why?

We are members of PCN (Project Cargo Network), GPLN, and the CLC Projects networks. These are all project logistics cargo networks, as our focus is to become a local and international referrer of Project cargo.

Shipping equipment

What’s the best way to reach you?

Pierre-Paul Agnero:
+225 87 68 98 22

Xavier Berbers:
+225 21 59 40 44