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$1.02bn losses: APM boss allays fear

BY UDEME CLEMENT
The managing director and chief executive officer, APM Terminals Apapa Limited, the global terminal operator handling the current concession of Apapa Container Terminal, Mr. Martin Dirks, has disclosed that the $1.02billion losses incurred by the shipping and logistics giant, AP Moller Maersk, a sister company in Sweden in 2009 economic year, was only on its shipping operations and not in terminal business.

He explained that the recent financial linkages have been adequately analysed by the company’s management and efficiently handled to ensure that operations in all segments of the firm continues unhindered, adding that the losses would not have any negative impact on the sister company nor adverse consequence on their operations in Nigeria.

“We see it as part of the risk in business. The losses was recorded in only the shipping aspect of the business and not in terminal operations and there is nothing to worry about because the management has taken care of the situation already”, he said.

Dirks said that the company currently employs over 900 Nigerians and 15 expert rates, who are highly skilled in terminal business. “Concession has greatly improved the image of Apapa port and congestion in the area has reduced drastically. If you look at Apapa terminal now, you would discover so many positive changes and we are still putting new cargo handling equipment and other modern facilities in place to ensure efficiency in our operations. By so doing, Apapa would not be congested anymore”, he maintained.

On what security measures are put in place to check cargo theft and container flying in the terminal, he explained, “every company has its secret in business. I am not going to say exactly our security techniques in the terminal, but the truth is that we have efficient security network that could easily detect any form of theft in the terminal.

Besides, we are also conscious of the quality of containers coming into the terminal on regular basis. Considering the nature of the business, we are also strengthening our security checks and with our new electronic gating system, it would be almost impossible to fly containers from the terminal at any moment.”

In the AP Moller -Maersk Group has been negatively affected by the global economic crisis. Freight rates for the group’s container activities were 28 percent lower than in 2008, resulting in a negative segment result of USD 2.1 billion for container activities. Tanker rates were also substantially lower than in 2008. The average price of crude oil was 36 percent lower in 2009 than in 2008, while the Group’s share of oil and gas production was at the same level as in 2008.

2010 would be more favourable for the firm as 7-10 percent addition of tonnage is expected for the global container fleet, while cargo volumes are expected to increase by 3-5 percent in 2010 relative to 2009 and freight rates are also expected to rise significantly.


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