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Sierra Leone Ports

Port Overview

The Port of Freetown, the principal commercial port in Sierra Leone, is the most important entry gate for trade and commerce to the country. The Freetown Port (Queen Elizabeth II Quay) is located within the busy and congested eastern end of the city. It serves as the major logistics hub for Sierra Leone’s imports and exports. As an essential component of the country’s economic prosperity, this land is valuable in terms of its limited area and the need to maximize its efficiency.

Freetown Port has one of the finest natural harbours on the West African Coast, with a well-protected anchorage, a draft at berth of 7-10 meters, a length of quay of 1,067 meters consisting of 6 berths, and sizable and fenced land area allocated for the port.

The main port for International trade is located in the city of Freetown in Sierra Leone. Freetown has many small ports for boats (Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Cline Town Government Warf, Kissy Ferry Terminal, Kissy Oil Terminal and Tagrin Ferry Terminal), Oil Tankers, Fishing Vessels and Ferries. A concession agreement was entered into on 25 November 2010 between the Sierra Leone Port Authority, the Government, and the National Commission for Privatization, Bolloré Ports, and the Freetown Terminal Limited. This agreement was in relation to the concession of the Container Terminal (berth 3-6) which came into effect as of March 2011, to use, manage, operate and maintain berths 3-6 and all surrounding areas along with the fixed assets. In September 2015 Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal concluded agreements for berths 1 & 2.

Key port information can also be found at: 

World Port Source

Port Location and Contacts


Sierra Leone

Province or District

Western Area

Town or City (Closest location) with Distance (km)

Name: Freetown

km: 0

Port's Complete Name

Freetown Port





Managing Company or Port Authority (If more than one operator, break down by area of operation)

  • Sierra Leone Port Authority: Landlord of the port
  • Freetown Terminal Ltd: Container, RoRo & Break Bulk operation
  • Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal (NSBT): Break Bulk & bulk operation

Management Contact Person

  • A B Bangoura: General Manager, SLPA
  • Bertrand KERGUELEN, General Manager, Freetown Terminal
  • James Sonnie John, Managing Director, Nectar Terminal

Closest Airport and Frequent Airlines to / from International Destinations

Airport Name: Lungi International Airport

Airlines: Brussels Airlines, Air France, Royal Air Maroc

Port Picture

Description and Contacts of Key Companies

The key companies and their duties within the port include Sierra Leone Port Authority, considered as the landowner of the port. Freetown Terminal Ltd manages berths 3 to 6 which include the container yard, RoRo and break bulk cargoes. Nectar Sierra Leon Bulk Terminal manages berths 1 and 2 for bulk and break bulk cargoes. The transportation by road is provided by the Indigenous Transport Owners Association (ITOA). The security is provided by Protec for Freetown Terminal Ltd and Leone International Security for the Bulk Terminal. Holland Shipyards Sierra Leone Ltd. undertakes new building, repair and conversion of small and medium-sized vessels. Cargo tracking is done by TPMS (Transport and Port Management System), also in charge of tracking and the security of cargo and containers at the Port. Port Stevedore Labour Company and Leon Duck Labour company are also operating at the port.

To access the key port companies contact list, please click on the following link: 4.4 Sierra Leone Port and Waterways Company Contact List

Port Performance

Six vessels can be berthed and operated at the same time. The cargo Handling MTs includes container volume. The channel draft is 11 meters; the longest vessel size should not be more than 236 meters. The port is not congested. There is no established priority for humanitarian cargo. The average waiting time between arrival and berthing is 0.6 day per Freetown Terminal Ltd. 

Seasonal Constraints

Yes / No

From <month> to <month>

Rainy Season


June to October

Major Import Campaigns


November to December

Other; Ramadan


During the month of Ramadan

Handling Figures: Freetown Terminal Ltd

Year: 2014

Vessel Calls


Container Traffic (TEUs)


Handling Figures: Sierra Leone Port Authority

Year: 2014
Vessel Calls559
Container Traffic (TEUs)83,419

Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk

Year: 2014

Bulk (MT)


Break Bulk (MT)579,730

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

There is no website containing the rates and tariffs. However, it is possible to find all the discharge rates and terminal handling charges in the following annexes:

Annex I: Sierra Leone Freetown Port Clearing Tariffs for Containers

Annex II: Sierra Leone Freetown Port Port Authority Tariffs

Annex III: Sierra Leone Freetown Port Transportation Tariffs for Containers

Annex IV: Sierra Leone Freetown Terminal Port Operation Charges

Berthing Specifications

Type of Berth


Length (m)

Maximum Draft (m)

Conventional Berth




Container Berth




Silo Berth



Berthing Tugs

1 not functioning


Water Barges



For more information on the berths available at the Port of Freetown please check the following websites:

General Cargo Handling Berths

From berths 1-2 is 400 meters length and berths 3 – 6 is 713 meters in length. The total length overall is 1,113 meters. Berths 1 – 3 is usually reserved for break bulk vessels and general cargoes, whiles berths 4 – 6 is considered for container vessels as that is the area where you will find the container stacking yards.

However, WFP had in the past been given a priority berthing for break bulk vessels alongside berth 4 opposite our port warehouse. No bulk or break bulk have been received over the last 5 years.
This mutual agreement was understood between the port and WFP in order to assist us on our discharge operation and curtail pilferage to a minimum. Due to lack of dredging in the port, the draft limit is falling. Nowadays, Masters notice there vessels sitting on muddy surface while berthed alongside, especially berths 4, 5 and 6.

Cargo Type

Berth Identification

Imports - Bagged Cargo


Exports - Bagged Cargo


Imports and Exports - RoRo

3 - 6

Other Imports


Port Handling Equipment

The Port handling equipment is managed privately by the two companies Freetown Terminal and Nectar.  

The equipment here below represents the equipment of Freetown Terminal only. 


(Yes / No)

Total Quantity &
Capacity Available

Comments on Current Condition
& Actual Usage

Dockside Crane



Container Gantries



Mobile Cranes


2 (3 by end of 2015) 100 mt & 125 mt

Built in 2012 and 2015



9 of 45 mt

Built from 2011 to 2014

RoRo Tugmaster (w/ Trailer)


13 of 60 mt

Built from 2011 to 2014

Grain Elevator w/ Bagging Machines








6 (1x32 mt, 4x16 mt, 1x12mt, 2x4mt)

Less than 4 years old.
2 additional units in 2016

Container Facilities

The 20-year concession includes plans to renovate and modernize the container terminal. Bolloré Africa Logistics, which now employs hundreds of people at the terminal, has started a wide range of developments, including refurbishment of the container wharf, introduction of secured, computerized management, delivery of appropriate modern handling equipment. Bolloré Africa Logistics plans to pursue its investment to ensure that its customers enjoy optimal service, while doubling the volumes handled within the next five years.


20 ft

40 ft

Container Facilities Available



Container Freight Station (CFS)



Refrigerated Container Stations



Other Capacity Details

Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day)

~250 TEU

Number of Reefer Stations (connection points)


Emergency Take-off Capacity (Give an indication)

Normal capacity 2768 TEU + 25%

Off take capacity of gang shift (in Containers per shift)

380 moves


Customs Guidance

All containers should be scanned through the scanning machine available at the Customs in the port. The capacity of scanning is between 100 – 120 containers per day. This limits the number of containers that can be delivered from the Port. 

For more information on customs at the Port of Freetown, please see the following links:

Customs Import Procedure

1.3 Sierra Leone Customs Information

Terminal Information

Multipurpose Terminal

Freetown Terminal is considered as multipurpose terminal. 

Grain and Bulk Handling

Construction of the quay began in 1953 on what was once called Fourah Bay and was finally completed 7 years later in 1960 when it was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Berths 1, 1A and 2 are designated as bulk and breakbulk specific berths and in September 2015 Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal took over control of the terminal from the Sierra Leone Port Authority (the Port Landlord). The terminal has an assortment of storage sheds for through cargo enabling safe discharge of product 24 hours per day. Direct bagging from ship discharge is possible. Nectar Group Ltd has signed a 10-year license agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone to operate the Freetown Bulk terminal located at QEII Terminal, Freetown. The new venture is named 'Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal' or NSBT. Operations started at the beginning of October 2015.

Main Storage Terminal

Limited warehousing capacity in the Port which obliges the direct delivery for bulk cargoes. 

Storage Type

Number of Storage Facilities

Area (square meters)

Bagged Cargo

Yes for WFP


Refrigerated Cargo



General Cargo




Freetown Terminal Ltd provides the stevedoring for berths 3 to 6 while Nectar Bulk Terminal provides the services to the berths 1 and 2.

Hinterland Information

The Indigenous Transport Owners Association provide the trucks to transport materials at the Port. For deliveries inside the city of Freetown, the trucks can only leave the port after 8 PM. The cost of transportation can be found in the following annex:

Annex III: Sierra Leone Freetown Port Transportation Tariffs for Containers  

Port Security

Each concessionaire is responsible of the security of its concession. Freetown Terminal has subcontracted Protec Security to ensure security in its terminal while Nectar has subcontracted Leon International Security Company. CCTV have been installed in the Freeport. 



ISPS Compliant

(Yes / No)


Current ISPS Level


Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional

Police Boats


Fire Engines