Why we acquired a quarter of Lekki Port – Bleasdale

Recently, CMA Terminals, a member of the CMA CGM Group announced the acquisition of 25% stake in Lekki Port.

The CMA CGM Group is the world’s third-largest maritime container shipping company and number one in France. From its base in Marseille, France, CMA CGM is present in more than 150 countries through its network of over 650 agencies, with more than 18,000 employees worldwide (4,700 in France).

With a young and diversified fleet of 414 vessels (84 company owned), the CMA CGM Group serves 400 of the world’s 521 commercial ports. Through its 170 shipping lines the company operates on every one of the world’s seas. Its global presence and powerful ships like the CMA CGM JULES VERNE enable the CMA CGM Group to transport a volume of 10.6 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) each year.

The CMA CGM Group posted revenues of US$ 15.9 billion in 2012 (a 7% increase), proving that “family business” companies are efficient and make it possible for French industry to rise to the upper echelons of world trade.

There are 2,400 staff members working at the Group’s head office, the CMA CGM Tower in Marseille. It is a building worthy of a major player in the French economy. The Group has 6,300 French customers and CMA CGM is the largest private employer in Marseille, the city where the company was founded in 1978.

The CMA CGM Group operates all over the world and on every sea. In order to offer personalised service, the company owns a portfolio of brands that complement one another and offer strong regional expertise.

CMA Terminals, a subsidiary of CMA CGM, plays a major strategic role in shipping, especially when it involves the arrival of giant container ships.

Mr. Peter Bleasdale is the Managing Director of CMA CGM Delmas Nigeria Limited. In this interview, he speaks more on the acquisition.

Excerpts.

 

For how long has CMA CGM operated in Nigeria?

CMA CGM Group commenced services to Nigeria in 2002,since when there has been regular growth in our market share thanks to our consistently reliable services and customer-friendly approach.

 

What informed the decision to acquire stake in Lekki port?

It has been clear for some time to all stakeholders that ,despite improvements in service levels at Apapa and Tin Can Island ports,additional capacity is essential in order to meet the challenges set by the consistent growth in container volumes into Nigeria.CMA CGM believes that the Lekki project offers a positive and sustainable solution to these challenges.

 

What value are you bringing into port operation in Nigeria?

CMA CGM, in addition to being the third-largest global container operator , has significant experience in port operations at various major terminals worldwide, and can certainly help to ensure the success of this exciting major new facility for the Nigerian market.

 

How soon can the Lekki port become operational?

First phase of the container terminal is expected to start operations in Q1 2017.

 

Is CMA CGM looking at other possible areas of investment in the maritime sector in Nigeria?

CMA CGM has invested already in new larger vessels in order to meet the demands of this dynamic growing market,and will continue to monitor possible investment opportunities.

 

How will you describe port operation in Nigeria?

In a word, challenging! Ship productivity has of course improved since the Federal Government liberalized port operations in 2006 but the container dwell time remains the highest in the region and infrastructural problems at the existing port facilities such as access roads are still to be fully addressed.This in part is why CMA CGM believes that new Lekki facility is a wonderful opportunity for Nigerian customers to improve supply chain times by getting the cargoes to their final destination far quicker.