The facility, the first of its kind in the world, will utilise a multi-level racking system operated by yard cranes.
Borne out of the need to cope with the abnormally high rate of physical examination of containers by Customs, the facility is part of the Phase Three of the modernistion and upgrading of APM Terminals, which 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.
Group Chief Executive Officer of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, Mr. Nils Andersen, who performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Phase Three project, last Tuesday when he visited Nigeria, said that it will gulp a princely $135 million (about N20.3 billion).
Shortly before performing the historic groundbreaking ceremony, Andersen disclosed that the Phase Three expansion project is to finalise the development and maximise the capacity of the Apapa Container Terminal.
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 “least until 2017.”
He said the project will bring 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.”
Andersen stated: “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.”
The AP Moller-Maersk boss said that the expansion shows that the Nigerian economy is still growing and has potential for more growth.
“We will work hard to contribute to this positive development in the coming years,” he said.
Andersen, who arrived in Nigeria Sunday last week, had earlier met with the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and paid a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He had assured the President of the AP Moller-Maersk Group’s commitment to the economic development of Nigeria.
While fielding questions from some journalists in Lagos, Andersen also spoke on the Badagry Megaport project which APM Terminals is undertaking with its consortium partners.
He described the Badagry Port project as an important project aimed at adding new capacity to cope with increase in volume.
“The growth in volume is solid and new capacity will be needed in the medium term. Badagry is important because the ports in Lagos will be out of capacity by 2016,” he said.
He said that the Group’s investments in both the Apapa Container Terminal and the Badagry Port project indicate “a vote of confidence in Nigeria’s economy.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by important dignitaries, including the Executive Director Marine and Operations of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. David Omonibeke, who represented the Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi.
More than 10,000 of AP Moller-Maersk Group’s 117,000 employees work in Africa.
The Group is present in 130 countries.
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