Home / Shipping News / Port News / APM Terminals: Exports Forum highlights opportunities for Nigerian non-oil exports

APM Terminals: Exports Forum highlights opportunities for Nigerian non-oil exports

Nigeria’s largest container terminal, APM Terminals Apapa hosted the first edition of its Exporters Forum this month in support of the Federal Government’s drive to diversify the economy through the promotion of non-oil exports. This bi-annual event will provide a platform to exchange ideas and eliminate obstacles facing Nigerian exports.

Speaking at the event, Country Chief Executive Officer of APM Terminals Nigeria, Frederik Klinke assured attendees that, “APM Terminals will continue to support the country’s export drive to diversify the economy, earn more foreign exchange, create jobs and prosperity for the people.”

Fuel price rises, due to the removal of fuels subsidies earlier this year, had a general effect across the economy, but also on the cost of operating container handling equipment at APM Terminals operations in Nigeria. The company has been able to offset these to some degree through the application of lean methodologies to identify waste and inefficiencies.
Higher fuel prices driving up efficiency

“For instance, whenever container handling equipment is operating, our Lean processes ensure it is moving boxes and not staying idle,” explained Steen Knudsen, Terminal Manager at APM Terminals Apapa. “So if a piece of equipment should say work for 10 hours, for those ten hours, we ensure it is moving containers. This way we maximise operating hours and reduce idle times, cutting down on the amount of fuel used.” With export costs high on the agenda, in a recent interview he explained the shipping costs facing Nigerian exporters, and how Nigeria’s international trade would greatly benefit from a more stable naira as it would encourage consignees to trade in larger volumes.

Referencing the volatility of the naira, he said. “In international trade, most transactions are carried out in dollars. The rate at which the naira exchanges to a dollar determines to a large extent the cost of cargo clearance, alongside other shipping charges. Cumulatively, this ultimately determines the volume of cargo moving in and out of the ports.”

APM Terminals Apapa has invested more than USD438million (over N657 billion) — the highest by any private terminal operator in Nigeria —since it commenced operations in 2006. Upgrades to infrastructure, container handling equipment, modernisation of the terminals’ IT hardware and software systems, ongoing training and the development of additional capacity, have lifted standards of efficiency, with zero waiting times for vessels and a doubling of container volumes.
Larger vessel calls lower cost per container

In 2022, a record for the most cargo moves in a single month was set. The record of over 41,000 moves, was around 2% higher than the previously record set in 2014. The terminal also welcomed the largest container ship to ever call at Apapa last year. “Larger vessels accommodate more boxes, which in turn means lower cost per container for consignees,” explained Mr Knudsen.

“This is a great development for international trade in Nigeria. Lower shipping costs for consignees translates to lower prices of goods for consumers when it hits the local markets. We hope to continue in this path in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authorities and other key stakeholders.”

APM Terminals Apapa is the only container terminal in Nigeria that is connected to the rail network. Last year, the terminal began the evacuation of cargo via a standard gauge rail line to the Moniya Freight Yard in Ibadan, Oyo State, to boost the handling of exports and imports. In 2023, 9,150 containers were moved via both the standard and narrow-gauge tracks.

New rail connections lift standards of reliability
During his presentation at the Forum, Commercial Intelligence Manager for APM Terminals Nigeria, Adetunji Igbaugba explained that, “The standard gauge rail line guarantees safety, faster turnaround times for cargo exchange, creates reliability, predictability and ease of doing business, in addition to creating a one-stop shop for import, storage and export consolidation through container freight station (CFS) operations at the rail terminal in Moniya Ibadan.”

“However, we need to continue to improve on the processes to ensure that we surpass our customers’ expectation like scheduling and reliability. We will continue to partner with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and other stakeholders to bring the needed efficiency for the customers to have a better trust in the product and service.”

The President, Association of West African Exporters and Marine Professionals, Olubunmi Olumekun expressed appreciation to APM Terminals Apapa for providing the platform to discuss the logistics challenges facing exporters. He concluded, “Nigeria has a huge export market which can only be developed through collaboration.”
Source: APM Terminals

Recent Videos

Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping
error: Content is protected !!