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APM Terminals invests N80 billion on expansion in 9 years, says Country manager

Country Manager, APM Terminals Nigeria, Mr David Skov

The Country Manager, APM Terminals Nigeria, Mr David Skov,
on Wednesday said the company had invested not less than $350 million (N80.5
billion) in yard expansion since port concession commenced in 2006.

Skov said this in a paper entitled, “Building Economic
Capacity through Maritime Infrastructure Development – The APM Terminals
Perspective’’, presented at the Nigerian Maritime Expo in Lagos.
He said the management had also increased the berth depth
from 10.5 metres to 13.5 metres; purchased container handling equipment; and
linked the rail tracks with the national rail network.
“APM Terminals has also established a world-class training
centre and crane simulation facility for our employees in Nigeria, and is also
training crane operators from across the APM Terminals Global Network.
“Our investments in information technology has seen
significant improvement in invoicing and tracking of accounts payable,
improving cash flow and financial performance.
“With these investments in infrastructure and human
capital; we are pleased to say that APM Terminals Apapa is one of the most
modern and efficient terminals in Africa and a key transportation hub.
“The investments made at APM Terminals Apapa in
preparedness to receive larger vessels have made it a more competitive port of
call and is increasing employment opportunities,’’ he said.
Skov said that at present, the largest ships calling at
the port had a 4, 500 TEUs capacity (20 ft. container equivalent), while the
Lome hub could host vessels with capacities that were as high as 8,000 TEUs.
“The port infrastructure plays an important role in the
size of the vessels that call at various ports.
“Over the past 20 years, container vessels have grown from
6,000 TEUs to 19,000 TEUs capacity and are still growing.
“Not too long ago, vessels with 1,700 TEUs capacity were
common in the nation’s ports. This has changed with the infrastructure
developments in the sector and with more investments,’’ he said.
According to him, larger vessels will call at the nation’s
ports which will significantly enhance the productive capacity of the country
and improve the prosperity of its citizens with lower costs.
“This means that only ports and terminals with sufficient
depth, quay front and equipment can accommodate these new larger vessels.
“This also means that ports with better access roads will
be able to facilitate faster the trade requirements of the future.
“Our commitment to lifting global trade is reflected in
APM Terminals’ continuous investment in infrastructure.
“The port industry, however, does not have the luxury of
being able to simply react to changes in the market environment.
“We must be able to anticipate and deliver the terminal
capacity and productivity that our customers will require,’’ the Country
Manager said.
He said that the company’s challenge was the discrepancy
in lead times for construction.
According to him, a vessel construction schedule may be
calculated in months but a new container terminal design and development
schedule must be calculated in years.
Skov said that the decisions of the company could be made
much further in advance, as long as a decade in some instances.
He recalled that, “A bold move to concession Nigerian
seaports was made in 2006.’’
“When APM Terminals won the concession to operate Apapa
Container Terminal, we were faced with daunting challenges.
“The yard, buildings and equipment were in disrepair, with
approximately 4,000 people actually living within the terminal area, making an
already poor safety environment even worse.
“There was significant vessel congestion and unacceptably
long container dwell times.
“A dysfunctional stacking system made it difficult to
locate containers within the yard, and productivity in general was low.
“As an organisation with safety as our number one
priority, the first step we took was to ensure that the Apapa Container
Terminal was a safe place for all to conduct their business,’’ Skov said.
He also recalled that the company cleared the debris,
removed unauthorised structures within the terminal; fenced the perimeter of
the facility for appropriate access control; and implemented internationally-recognised
safety and security measures.
“Before APM Terminals took over the Apapa Port, Nigeria’s
Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) was constant and low,” he said.
LSCI measures the ability to move a cargo from one place
to another with due cost, due time and due services.
Mr Skov had this to say about LSCI; “The LSCI has grown by
76 per cent from 13 to 23 in 2014.
“Thus, when container terminals invest in more capacity
and higher productivity, it induces shipping lines to respond with more
services, more port calls per service, bigger vessels, and this in turn
increases LSCI.
“An increase in LSCI increases imports and reduces trade
“In summary, it is imperative that Nigeria continues to
build the necessary maritime infrastructure required to be able to handle the
growth in international trade coming our way, ‘’ Skov said.


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