Cameroon - Standoff between the Port of Douala and Bolloré: French justice decides

Cameroon – Standoff between the Port of Douala and Bolloré: French justice decides

In Paris, the Court of Cassation ruled on Wednesday June 19 in favor of the autonomous port of Douala (PAD) in a commercial dispute opposing it to the French group Bolloré concerning concessions for the container terminal.

This decision overturns that of the Paris Chamber of Commerce, which had ordered the port of Douala to pay 58.6 million euros to a subsidiary of the Bolloré group, having failed in a call for tenders. For the PAD, this is a significant victory in the five-year long legal conflict against the Douala International Terminal (DIT).

This former subsidiary of Bolloré, now under the control of the MSC group, had taken action against the port following the failure to renew its concession for the container terminal. The Bolloré group, which had managed this infrastructure for 15 years with its partner APMT, considered that the call for tenders had been conducted to their disadvantage.

As a result, DIT initiated arbitration proceedings with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in early 2019. In November 2020, this chamber ordered the port to pay DIT €58.6 million for various “prejudices”.

Furthermore, the French Court of Cassation overturned this decision, having determined that the arbitral tribunal was irregularly constituted, in particular due to revealed collusion between a judge and a lawyer from the Bolloré group. However, DIT considers that the case is not closed, stressing that the judgment concerns the form and not the substance.