By Godfrey Bivbere & Ediri Ejoh
Group Chief Executive Officer of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, Mr. Nils Andersen, last week performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the N20.9 billion ($135 million) terminal yard redevelopment and expansion of the largest container terminal in West Africa, the APM Terminals Apapa.
The project, which is the Phase 3 of the modernization and upgrading of the APM Terminals, includes terminal yard redevelopment and expansion including new staff amenities and customer service building, acquisition of container handling equipment, implementation of new terminal operating systems and a new Customs container inspection facility.
He stated that the project will include development of new container stacking areas such as the old Sunshine Oil and Dangote Cement areas, which were part of the original Apapa concession but not handed over to APM Terminals until recently.
“The project will also convert the terminal to full RTG (yard crane) operations, and includes purchase of many items of container handling equipment, a new customer service building, new employee amenities buildings as well as office for Nigeria Customs, and a new Customs container inspection area. The project will also include state of the art terminal control systems including a satellite based container positioning system,” he said.
Andersen disclosed that the investment has become necessary in order to ensure there is sufficient port capacity for container operations in Lagos “at least until 2017.”
He said the project will entail US$135 million of investment bringing the total capital investment since the start of the concession in 2006 to a total of US$330 million.
The APM Moller-Maersk CEO stated that the fresh investment will “make the Apapa Terminal the largest and most modern terminal in West Africa with a capacity of 1.2 million TEU per year.
“It will benefit the people working in the terminal, who will have better, safer conditions, it will be good for the environment, because pollution will be reduced, and it will further enable Nigerian business to import and export goods and products.
“Apapa has already for years promoted trade and development and attracted customers, making it the busiest terminal in West Africa. This is another important step in this exciting journey.
“Many efficiency measures and modernisations have been carried through in recent years, lifting the productivity and developing safety and transparency, so much so that we use it as a best-practice example for terminals in other growth markets. We hope and believe that Apapa will continue to be a terminal we can all be proud of,” Andersen stated.
The AP Moller-Maersk boss said the expansion shows that the Nigerian economy is still growing and has potential for more growth, he concluded