Shipping is also a government monopoly run by the state concern, the National Corporation for Maritime Transport and the Algerian National Navigation Company (Société Nationale de Transports Maritimes et Compagnie Nationale Algérienne de Navigation--SNTM-CNAN). SNTM-CNAN started with nine vessels in 1971; in the late 1980s the organization owned seventy vessels and twenty tugboats. Although the Ministry of Transport is responsible for coordinating maritime functions, semiautonomous port authorities created in 1984 handle port operations. Algeria's major ports--Algiers, Annaba, Oran, Skikda, Bejaïa, and Mostaganem--handled about 84 million tons of cargo in 1990. The three largest ports handled 71 percent of total traffic in 1991; Algiers took 32 percent, Annaba 23 percent, and Oran 16 percent. Bejaïa and Skikda remain important ports for exporting hydrocarbons and minerals, Mostaganem handles general cargo, and Arzew boasts large LNG terminals. The new container port of Djendjene near Jijel, funded by Saudi Arabia and built by an Italian-Dutch consortium, is to serve the planned Bellara steelworks in eastern Algeria. The port may need a massive financial infusion to make it fully operative.
The need to develop container facilities, especially at the congested Algiers port, and to continue modernizing other ports ranked high on the government's priority list in 1992. The World Bank provided a US$63 million loan in 1989 to upgrade the port facilities of Algiers, Annaba, and Oran. In connection with port improvement programs, the government needed to clarify the division of responsibility between the Ministry of Transport, which has authority to coordinate all port operations, and the Ministry of Public Works, which oversees construction and maintenance of port infrastructures.
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