WAFMAX vessels will make Nigeria’s export more competitive, says Thorhauge

The Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria Limited and Head of the Central West Africa Cluster, Mr. Jan Thorhauge, on Tuesday said the arrival of the West Africa Maximum (WAFMAX) container vessel at Onne Port in Rivers State, will make transportation of goods more economically viable.

Thorhauge, in an interview with journalists, lauded the commitment of the stakeholders in Onne Port which led to the arrival of the jumbo vessel.

He said the arrival of the vessel would reduce the costs of transportation of goods from Lagos to other parts of the country.

“This is going to make the transport of goods more economically viable. Before, there were 2,500 containers on one ship, now there will be 4,500.

“It is going to be much more cost-efficient. In practice, it would mean that Nigerian export products would become more competitive. China is a very big sourcing area for Nigeria as almost 50 per cent of all containerised imports into Nigeria comes from China. So this is a direct link between China and Nigeria. It goes first to Lagos and then to Onne.

“Hopefully, it will enable us to add more value to our customers. Hopefully by adding this value to our customers, they will also reciprocate by giving us more business,” Thorhauge stated.

He said that the turnaround time of the WAFMAX vessel was twice faster than the smaller ships.

Thorhauge said that the vessel started calling at Apapa Port, Lagos in July 2011.

“Actually a couple of years ago, the reason we couldn’t bring the big ships there was because there was some draft issues that the port was not deep enough.

“There were some wrecks that had to be removed and also there was a sharp bend into Onne that was too narrow. We worked closely with the NPA to overcome all those obstacles and the last thing that was also helpful was the redeployment of two additional tugs in Onne. So all of that have now been accomplished. We are now aimed to mark the arrival of the biggest ship ever in the East,” he said.

He said the 22 WAFMAX ships owned by Maersk Line cost USD2.1 billion.



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