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Ivory Coast San Pedro Port Sees Cocoa Exports Stagnating

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Exports of cocoa from Ivory Coast’s western port of San Pedro are expected to be 630,000 metric tons this year, little changed from 2012, according to Guy Manouan, the port’s marketing director.

The harbor shipped 625,000 tons of cocoa in 2012, Manouan said today in a phone interview. Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa producer and San Pedro is the country’s main harbor for cocoa exports.

“The production of cocoa is seen to stagnate this year”, Manouan said. About 70 percent of the country’s cocoa output is harvested in the west, he said.

Cocoa output in Ivory Coast will be 1.47 million tons in 2012-13, down from 1.486 million tons a year earlier, the International Cocoa Organization estimates. Global cocoa demand will be 45,000 tons higher than supplies in the 2012-13 season started Oct. 1, according to the London-based group.

Semi-processed cocoa, including liquor, cake and chocolate, will account for 20 percent of San Pedro’s cocoa shipments, from 18 percent in 2012, Manouan said. The figure is expected to rise to 25 percent in 2014, he said.

Traffic in all goods through San Pedro is expected to reach 3.5 million tons this year, from 3.3 million tons, in 2012, Manouan said.

The study phase of a harbor expansion project is complete and bidding for work should take place before the end of the year, Manouan said. The port plans to extend its container terminal and to set up a 150-hectare (370-acre) “logistical platform” for agribusiness companies, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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