The newly appointed managing director of West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) Onne, Rivers State, Naved Zafar, has expressed readiness to contribute to the economic aspiration of Nigeria, saying Nigeria remains an important maritime market in the West African region.
Zafar, who until his new appointment, was the Managing Director of APM Terminals Cotonou, Benin Republic, said he was ready to expand the frontiers of service delivery to numerous customers in Eastern Nigeria.
According to him, he was ready to work with critical stakeholders in the maritime sector towards expanding the frontiers of the sector.
He said, “I am happy to be back in Nigeria to contribute to the realisation of the country’s economic aspiration. Nigeria, which is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, remains an important market in the region.
“I look forward to working with relevant stakeholders towards the successful implementation of our strategic priorities in WACT. I also look forward to expanding the frontiers of service delivery to our numerous customers especially in Eastern Nigeria,” Zafar said.
In his new role, Zafar will be responsible for the expansion and transformation of the global terminal operator’s strategic gateway terminal in Eastern Nigeria.
Zafar will report to Klaus Laursen, the Country Manager of APM Terminals in Nigeria and will work closely with the senior management team in Nigeria and the regional team in Dubai.
Naved Zafar joined Maersk Group in 1997 as a Maersk International Shipping Education (MISE) trainee in Pakistan and spent his early years in commercial and operations functions for Maersk Line in Pakistan and Germany.
With a passion for new challenges, Zafar has spent the last 13 years in sub-Saharan Africa in various leadership roles in Nigeria, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin. Before joining APM Terminals, he had also worked as CEO for Damco West and Central Africa area.
Prior to working for Damco, he served as Head of Operations for Maersk Line for the Central West Africa cluster comprising Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana as well as Country Manager for Maersk Line in Ghana and later in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With deep knowledge and passion for Africa, Zafar has shown strength in his people leadership – building and growing the business he has led, whether it is deployment of WAFMAX vessels for Maersk Line in West Africa, pushing for double taxation treaty between Denmark and Ghana, setting up new intermodal corridors between the two Congos thereby connecting Pointe Noir to Kinshasa by land or establishing a new inland office in mines rich Lubumbashi region in the Eastern DRC, Zafar has been in the forefront of pushing the boundaries and delivering solid results while improving engagement with the stakeholders of Maersk Group. He holds a Masters in Commerce from University of Karachi and has attended leadership development courses at IMD.
West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), which started commercial operation in 2006, is the first Greenfield container terminal in Nigeria to be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The terminal is located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State. Over the years, it has grown to become the most efficient gateway to markets outside the Lagos area.
In 2020, WACT announced a further investment of USD100million in its Phase Two upgrade. The Phase Two upgrade includes the acquisition of three additional Mobile Harbour Cranes, bringing the total in operation to five; 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes; three Reach Stackers; 13 terminal trucks and trailers and an empty container handler.
The upgrade will also include the deployment of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity, as well as expansion of the current yard, new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.