• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Building, raw materials, electronics grow Nigeria’s containerised imports by 97%

Imported fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), electronics for household use, and building and raw materials for the construction and manufacturing industries have been identified as the drivers of the growing volume of imported containerised cargoes into Nigerian ports, BusinessDay has learnt.

The volume of imported containerised cargoes has significantly grown by 97 percent to 1,010,836 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually in nine years, covering 2004 to 2013.

Analysts say this is as a result of Nigeria’s growing population as well as a burgeoning middle class.

“The volume of containerised cargoes is growing by at least 10 percent every year. The throughput has doubled in the last few years and is growing year-on-year,” Obiageli Duru, deputy commercial manager, APM Terminals, told BusinessDay during a visit to Nigeria’s largest container terminal located in Apapa, Lagos.

“This means that more cargoes are coming into the country in container boxes and Nigerian economy is growing, which also makes it an emerging market,” she said.

According to her, an average of 700 TEUs of imported containers are delivered to the importers’ warehouse from Apapa Container Terminal, which handles about 60 percent of entire containerised cargoes, while the remaining 40 percent is handled by Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Ports and Cargo Handling Services (PCHS), Ports and Terminal Multi-purpose Services (PTML), and INTEL Logistics in Onne port.

Containerised goods that are imported into the country are mainly dominated by household consumables and industrial raw materials such as electronics, cars, processed food items, chemicals, machinery, tiles and paper, among other goods, as confirmed by Maersk Nigeria Limited in a recent trade report.

The Maersk report, which further listed other containerised cargoes to include industrial equipment, automobile spare parts, frozen foods and manufactured goods, also revealed that the imported volume of cargoes in container boxes has continued to increase from year to year.

Statistics from Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) show that in 2004, containerised imports stood at 513,954 TEUs. It grew by 12 percent to 575,242 TEUs in 2005; while the volume recorded 4 percent growth to 599,357 TEUs in 2006.

In 2007, container volume dropped by 14 percent to 517,941 TEUs, while it picked up in 2008 with significant growth of 18 percent to 612,982 TEUs.

Further breakdown shows that in 2009, the volume of imported containerised cargo grew by 6 percent to 652,052 TEUs; another 6 percent to 691,993 TEUs in 2010; 21 percent to 839,977 TEUs in 2011; 5 percent to 877,737 TEUs in 2012, and a tremendous growth of 15 percent to 1,010,836 TEUs in 2013.

Jan Thorhauge, managing director, Maersk Nigeria Limited, the shipping line that controls an average of 38 percent of Nigeria’s container imports market, stated that the Eastern Nigerian market has been outperforming the Western market in terms of growth in percentage.

He explained that Nigeria’s containerised imports come from Asian countries like China, India, Korea and Japan, while other commodities are imported from United States of America, Netherlands, Germany, North America and Turkey.

Michael Ike, an Onitsha-based importer of building materials, attributed the growing volume of imported containerised cargoes to the underdeveloped nature of Nigerian manufacturing sector.

He also disclosed that the increased demand for building materials in the eastern part of the country was as a result of high level of real estate and infrastructural development going on in the East.

According to him, the presence of Onitsha Main Market, the largest West African market, and Ariaria International Market in Aba is also the reason why the East has become a destination for imported fast moving consumer goods and electronics.