Managing director of leading terminal concessionaire at the Apapa Port, APM Terminals Apapa Ltd, Mr. Dallas Hampton, said the company has invested $200 million (N31.4 billion) in its facilities in Nigeria till date and plans to invest another $135 million (N21.2 billion) before the end of the year.
Mr. Hampton, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP SUNDAY in his office at the terminal’s complex in Apapa Lagos, said the new investment, would cover cost of civil works on modern facilities for receiving cement and other extension projects.
He said: “Our level of investment in Nigeria is very extensive. Our investment is about $200 million today, but we have just announced a new extension in the terminal, where we will spend another $135 million. So, that will be on top of whatever we have invested till today, which is about $200 million. That will make about $335 million which we have committed to spend.”
APMT got the contract to manage the biggest terminal at Apapa Port in a 25-year concession in 2006 when the federal government opted for the concession model to manage the nation’s dwindling ports, while retaining the Nigeria Ports Authority as the landlord.
Now six years into the business of cargo handling in Nigeria, Hompton said the terminal operator had made significant impact in the country’s economic landscape by improving capacity and reducing vessel waiting time from about 21 days to just one day.
“When I came here, there was a real lack of capacity in the terminal itself. There was also long waiting time for ships. I learnt that waiting time takes up to three weeks for container vessels to get into the port.
“So, if we contrast some of those factors against where we are today, the terminal has increased its storage capacity to well over 60 per cent and the waiting time for vessels in this terminal as at today is around one day. Some ships come in straight, while some just have to wait a little bit longer, but for less than one day,” he said.
On Nigeria’s export-import balance, the APMT boss explained that whilst the NPA is in the best position to know the exact figures, his observation by his company’s volumes showed that only about 10 per cent export is recorded against imports of about 50 per cent.
“If you talk about our terminal, for only containerised cargo, its around 10 per cent in export cargo, that is containers that are leaving Nigeria and the rate of import containers is about 50 per cent of the volume of import containers.
“The other 50 per cent goes less 10 per cent and the rest of about 40 per cent empty containers. But that’s it about this terminal. I think we will not be very different from the others, but of course, the ports authority is the only one to have the figures for the entire ports,” Hompton noted.