With capacity to handle almost half of the total volume of containers passing through Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre; Lagos, APM Terminals Apapa Limited has been described as the largest and best equipped terminal not only in Africa’s most populous country but in the entire West Africa.
Chief Commercial Officer of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, Mr. Neil Fletcher, told delegates at the 12th Inter modal Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos last week that the leading terminal operator is a multi-user facility having 10 shipping lines calling at its terminal.
He said the terminal is fully ISPS compliant and is the first container terminal to introduce RTGs (Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes) operations in Nigeria.
He said when APM Terminals took over operation of the Apapa container terminal in 2006, vessel waiting time was up to 30 days while the container yard had no markings, was waterlogged and filled with debris.
He also said that the general condition of equipment at the terminal pre-concession was generally poor while buildings within the terminal were obstructing consolidated stacking and reducing capacity.
Fletcher also told his audience that pedestrian traffic within the yard was high with incidences of pilferage and container losses, while the yard area was occupied by moveable assets and sitting tenants.
He said eight years into the port concession, the condition of the terminal has been turned around by APM Terminals with average berth productivity elevated to 30 moves per hour; average crane productivity at 15 moves per hour and monthly average monthly throughput at 50,000 TEUs.
He said the throughput capacity of the terminal is now one million TEUs while average vessel waiting time is less than one day.
While speaking earlier at a different forum on Tuesday, Fletcher said APM Terminals has invested over USD220 million on equipment, infrastructural development, process automation, employee training and safety at the terminal.
During a stakeholder’s forum on Enhancing Trade Facilitation through Ports Operations in Nigeria, organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); Fletcher said since the old Apapa container terminal was concessioned to the company in 2006, APM Terminals has invested and worked hard to ensure efficiency in service delivery.
He said APM Terminals is constructing a new administrative building and container examination facility to meet the high demand for physical inspection of cargoes.
“We are building a new three story building which includes 200 square meters of new offices for Customs in Apapa and we have a meeting with some project team who will be refurbishing the customs offices at the inspection building,” he said.