Port Sudan was founded in 1905 to replace the old port of Suakin, which was considered unable to accommodate the increased maritime traffic resulting from the expansion of agricultural schemes. With the drop in oil exports, Sudan has sought to bolster its agriculture sector. The port is governed by Sea Ports Corporation (SPC), which is an independent state corporation of Sudan that, constructs, and maintains the ports, harbors and lighthouses of Sudan. The company was founded in 1974 by the government of Sudan to be the national port operator and port authority. The Ports of Sudan fall under the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Bridges.
Sudan’s coastline, on the Red Sea, is an important shipping route. Most of the country’s trade currently passes through Port Sudan, but unfortunately remains one of the most inefficient ports in Africa. Compared to regional benchmarks, container dwell time at Port Sudan is over four times that of global best practices and among the worst in Sub-Saharan Africa. Truck cycle times for receipt and delivery of cargo at Port Sudan are 24 times higher than global benchmarks, and crane productivity is less than a third of what is observed in several parts of Africa. A steady increase in containers handled at Port Sudan has created serious port congestion problems, adding significant delays to the movement of freight. With the political issues in Port Sudan and shut down of the port, many shipment has delayed resulting in more congestion, shipping through Port Sudan is now unfavorable, accordingly many import and export trading companies are moving into land shipment trough Egypt or Ethiopia, Sudanese government is making an effort to restrict the land shipment through other countries, since it will reduce the profit gained from the port.
Further down Africa’s eastern seaboard in Djibouti, China has financed two ports in a location that’s a chokepoint for global shipping, as well as a railway to help landlocked Ethiopia transport its goods to the wider world. This port may change the game for Sudan, if government doesn’t intervene in financing and solving the port problems.