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Ivory Coast Takes to Water to Beat Urban Congestion

Damen Shipyards Group to build passenger ferries to reduce Abidjan’s urban congestion and greenhouse gas emissions 

As environmental awareness grows throughout the globe, business communities are increasingly focusing on sustainable solutions.

Cost-effective and socially aware, sustainable business practices create new markets in which entrepreneurial enterprises can flourish, and thus create a competitive edge.

International company Damen Shipyards Group represents such an initiative. Their recent contract to produce 16 shallow-draft passenger ferries in the Ivory Coast is part of an infrastructure solution concerning urban transport.

Damen’s contract with Société de Transport Lagunaire (STL) includes 18-meter vessels that will be able to contain up to 130 passengers. The ferries will be powered by two Volvo D5 engines each, and will all be designed in adherence to the standards of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

Damen Fast Ferry. Courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group

The global shipyard’s collaboration with the Ivory Coast represents a presidential campaign aimed at improving and controlling urban infrastructure. Due to burgeoning population growth, the existing ferry transportation systems are in dire need of revitalizing.

Damen Sales Manager Africa Jan van der Vorm explains:

“Abidjan’s population has increased five-fold in the last 20 years, and much of the existing ferry infrastructure is in urgent need of renewal. In order for the city’s growth to continue in a sustainable way, the transport sector has become a top priority.”

Furthermore, traffic congestion and pollution are swiftly becoming problematic for Abidjan, the Ivory Coast’s economic center.

An initial fleet of four ferries will be built in Damen Shipyards Koźle in Poland, and delivered in January 2017. From then on, the remaining vessels will be provided in three batches of four, in eight week intervals.