The Backbone Project

The Backbone Project is a large-scale infrastructure development program in Benin, conceived by the promotor Petrolin Group in order to ensure the economic development for the neighbouring countries.

The Backbone Project is integrated by many components namely Railway, Dry ports, Deep-water port, Airport as well as other auxiliary and ancillary infrastructures.

The Project is regulated by a Framework Convention, a joint agreement concluded in January 2010 between PIC Network Ltd - the infrastructure affiliate of Petrolin Group- and the Republic of Benin to develop the Project as a Public-Private Partnership.

The Framework Convention grants to PIC Network an exclusive right to develop the Backbone Project with its different components. As a project of national interest, the Backbone has and accords a privileged legal and fiscal framework under the Investment Code of the Republic of Benin designed for structural investments: the « E » regime.

To assist in the realisation of the Backbone Project, PIC Network has retained a stable of first-class international technical, economic, financial, tax and legal firms.


The railway entail the rehabilitation of the existing section between Cotonou and Parakou in Benin and the construction of an international standard gauge line linking Parakou to Niamey through Dosso in Niger for the transport of goods and people to neighbouring countries and to landlocked regions.

Dry Port

The dry port of Parakou is a multi-modal platform located at 3 km away from the centre city of Parakou and it is close to the railway. It gives the Backbone Project a strategic position for imports and exports to neighbouring countries, notably Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

Deepwater Port

The deep water port of Sèmè-Podji is an Oil, Mineral and Commercial deep water port, will be built on a land area declared as public utility covering 1006 hectares. Its main activities will be the flow of goods: container traffic, import & export of bulk and general loads, etc.

International Airport

The new airport in Benin will become an international platform and a Pan-African hub. This new airport is ideally positioned near the southern Benin-Nigeria border with the aim of serve southern Nigeria and Benin passenger and freight markets.

A highly skilled promoter

Since its creation in 1992, the Petrolin Group has proven to be a partner of choice in the petroleum domain and a support pillar in Africa relating local business opportunities to world realities. It highlights a unique approach to development through targeted research partnerships, the application of principles of good governance and the promotion of local competence.

Petrolin Group understood early on how to acquaint her partners with synergies between different areas of activity in Africa, between tradition and modernity, between industry and raw materials, between the private and public sectors, and between local and international players. Petrolin Group has become adept at building bridges between the regions of the continent, on the one hand, and, the international community and Africa, on the other hand.

In this sense, Petrolin Group sustains a policy of initiating and developing strategic partnerships at the national and international level in the petroleum, mining, energy and infrastructure domains.

We are committed to humanitarian activities in Africa, notably in all countries where we are engaged in industrial and commercial activity.

The vision behind the Backbone Project