APM Terminals calls for better African inland cargo transport

Africa’s internal cargo transport industry requires regulatory reform and infrastructure investment to serve the continent’s growing population with inland transits taking longer than sea voyages from Asia, according to APM Terminals.

Speaking in Tenerife at the TOC West Africa Market Briefing conference, APM Terminals’ commercial director for Inland Services West Africa, Moussa Diop, called for improvements in ports, rail, road and inland logistics.

Diop cited a report from African Development Bank (ADB) report on African trade the put the cost of shipping a 40 foot box from Shanghai to Mombasa, Kenya at under $1,000, while it costs around $7,000 to move the same container from Mombasa to the city of Bujumbura, in Burundi around 2,000 km away. Time is also a significant factor, with the China-Kenya sea voyage taking 28 days and the road journey to Burundi taking 40 days.

“The key to success in Africa is integrating port capacity with inland access. It is critical to establish inland capabilities and operations that serve adjacent and hinterland markets, including dry ports and cargo depots. Effective intermodal transportation and inland services involves logistics, trucking, stevedoring, warehousing, storage, cargo handling, storage, container depots and refrigerated container operations,” Diop stated.

Africa’s population is on course to grow from 1.1bn to 1.6bn in 2030, according to the UN, and according to UNCTAD data, African seaborne trade totalled 1.25bn tons in 2013. Total African container throughput is estimated at 33 million TEU in 2014, including transhipment cargo, representing only 4.5% of total global container volume.

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