Speaking at the TOC West Africa Market Briefing conference, APM Terminals’ Commercial Director for Inland Services West Africa, Moussa Diop, described the opportunities represented by a rapidly expanding and urbanizing sub-Saharan population, and the urgent need for significant infrastructure investment in both port and inland logistics capabilities in order to satisfy the projected demands of some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Citing a recent African Development Bank (ADB) report on African trade, Mr. Diop pointed out that while shipping a standard 40’ container from Shanghai to Mombasa, Kenya on the coast of East Africa, costs less than USD $1,000, moving the same container from Mombasa to the city of Bujumbura, in Burundi, in Central Africa, a distance of approximately 2,000 km (1,240 miles), costs USD $7,000.
While the sea voyage from China to Kenya takes 28 days, the roadway journey by truck from Kenya’s primary port into land-locked Burundi requires 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. Our goal is to apply our expertise and inland network to solve supply chain bottlenecks and thereby boost trade,” Mr. Diop added.
The APM Terminals Global Terminal Network is the largest port and terminal operator in Africa, and currently has interests in 10 operating port facilities in eight West African countries, with two more in development, as well as interests in both Morocco’s Tanger-Med port, and Egypt’s Suez Canal Container terminal, and 35 Inland Services facilities. The company’s inland services network in West Africa spans from Mauritania to Cameroon to serve adjacent/hinterland markets.