Liberia: APM Terminals Port Privatization Project Ahead of Schedule
In a world where slow growth is the norm for many countries, the International Monetary Fund has forecast an economic growth rate of 5.5% for sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 as a region. More importantly, Liberia’s GDP of approximately $1 billion USD has been forecast to expand by 9.4% for the year, among the highest in Africa.
As part of this economic success, Liberia’s main port, Monrovia, will play a key role fueling this growth.
The Liberian government elected to privatize the port in response to the urgent need for port infrastructure improvement, as the original facility was developed prior to the introduction of containerized cargo transportation. Significant investment in equipment, technology and training of local staff will be undertaken to bring the facility up to modern industry standards. Liberia’s major exports include rubber, iron ore, cocoa and coffee, while leading imports include fuel, machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, manufactured goods and foodstuffs.
The concession agreement for the privatization of the port was concluded in 2010, and represents the first port facility in Africa in which APM Terminals has 100% ownership. APM Terminals Liberia, established to operate and manage the Port of Monrovia, the principle gateway for the West African nation of approximately four million, has committed to investing $120 million USD in reconstruction and equipment upgrades over the course of the concession period.
The Port of Monrovia’s wharf reconstruction, a major milestone of the planned modernization and upgrading of the facility under the terms of the 25-year concession agreement with APM Terminals is well ahead of schedule and will be completed prior to the previously estimated target date of August 2013.
“The infrastructure investment underway here will enable Liberia to participate more fully in the global trade that will help drive economic growth in this dynamic market” stated APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer during a two-day tour of the facility.
Since assuming control of the port exactly one year ago on February 1st 2011, APM Terminals has already installed a state-of-the-art Navis N4 Container Tracking system, a 24-hour dedicated power supply to protect refrigerated cargo, new lighting, and refurbished structures. Obsolete buildings have also been demolished and removed to make space for an upgraded modern cargo storage area.
Work is currently underway to rebuild the quay, establish efficient yard handling procedures and install the new equipment required to transform the port into a more competitive, world‐class facility capable of handling the larger deep‐draft vessels entering the West African trades.
The APM Terminals Global Port, Terminal and Inland Services Network is very active in the high-growth West African market with port facilities in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Cotonou, Benin; Tema, Ghana; Apapa (Lagos), and Onne (Port Harcourt),Nigeria; Douala, Cameroon; Pointe Noire (under development), DR Congo; and Luanda, Angola, as well as extensive cargo transportation and support services.
World Maritime News Staff, February 10, 2012; Image: APM Terminals