In line with the policy of the Federal Government to enhance rapid economic transformation through job creation and influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, one of the leading terminal operators in the country has created 1,450 jobs in Nigeria and 10,000 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The company is also investing a huge sum of $2.1 billion in 22 new ships, specially designed to visit West Africa ’s shallow-water ports. The Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria Limited, who is also the Head of the Central West Africa Cluster, Mr. Jan Thorhauge, speaks on the commitment of the firm to reposition the shipping sector in the country.
Maersk Line, which accounts for 14 percent of all global container trade by sea, emerged from a pricing war in 2012 after making a US$553 million loss in 2011. The largest division within the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, representing 44percent of total group revenues of $59 billion in 2012, posted a profit of US$461 million in the face of all-time high bunker prices with the second half performance improving thanks to significant cost reductions and rate increases.
Can you give us a brief background details about Maersk Line activities in the shipping industry?
Maersk Line is investing US$2.1 billion in 22 new ships, which are specially designed to visit West Africa ’s shallow-water ports. The company transported 183 million tonnes of cargo in 2011, which is the largest container carrier in the world. The Maersk Liner business include Safmarine, which has 33 per cent share of the container shipping market in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For instance, A.P. Moller-Maersk Group has about 10,000 employees in Sub-Saharan Africa and 121,000 worldwide with about 1,450 in Nigeria. A.P. Moller-Maersk is present in more than 140 countries around the world. The company also engages in oil and gas production, towage and emergency services at sea, logistics, container terminals, oil drilling, and tankers, focuses heavily on safety and training of its highly-skilled staff as well as sustainability.
What are the details and statistics of Maersk Nigeria trade update in 2012?
The traditional commodities, which included electronics, cars, food items, chemicals, machinery and paper among other goods covering industrial needs and private consumption, remained the dominant items imported into Nigeria in 2012. The Trade Report also indicated that agricultural products such as cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame and cotton dominated the list of containerised commodities exported from Nigeria .
We see very few finished products being exported from the country. The 2012 containerised import market to Nigeria is estimated to have ended at 383,000 FFE (forty foot equivalent units), which following the significant 22 per cent increase observed in 2011 over 2010 – would represent a relatively marginal year on year 4 per cent growth.
The East Nigerian market outperformed West Nigeria in terms of growth in percentage terms. While the first half of 2012 saw the import market remain above the 2011 level, this changed during the second half of the year where volumes dropped and for the last five months of the year were consistently below the same period in 2011 Maersk Line maintained its position as the leading shipping line into Nigeria and combined with its sister company, Safmarine, command an estimated 38 per cent share of the import market and 32 per cent on the export market.
On Nigeria ’s trade balance, the containerised market in the country continues to be strongly dominated by imports. Since 2007, the import/export ratio has remained at around 92 per cent import versus 8 per cent export. At 7.8 per cent in 2012, this was however the lowest export ratio recorded during this period. Nigeria will be able to positively influence this ratio if obstacles such as unreliable power supply, poor road and rail infrastructure are improved.
What is Nigeria ’s position in the area of sourcing?
In terms of sourcing, Nigeria still imports most of the containerised cargo from the Far East and China in particular. Also, the sourcing patterns have not changed fundamentally in the last five years, though imports from Europe are seeing a downward trend.
What is your expectation for 2013 fiscal year?
Our expectations for the 2013 import market are conservatively optimistic because we expect the market to grow by 6-8 per cent. The export market is subject to harvest conditions and global market prices, but we foresee an increase of 8-10 per cent in 2013. Forecasting in general in Nigeria remains a challenge and 2013 is no different. The market development will as always depend heavily on unpredictable macro-economic factors as well as stable oil prices and oil production, security issues in Northern Nigeria, stability in Eastern Nigeria and the rate of exchange fluctuations for the Naira.