In West Africa, 22 new ships show how a well-designed container vessel can be an important driver of efficiency and increased reliability. But what can it do for the long-term economic development of developing countries like Ghana and Nigeria? A new study takes a closer look.
In West Africa where much of the world’s growth is happening, lack of deepwater ports and facilities prevents large ships from calling the ports. Instead, ports are clogged with small ships that spend a lot of time getting in and out, but carry very little cargo.
This inefficiency has knock on effects: the longer a vessel spends in port, the greater its transport costs and the higher its emissions of local and global pollutants. This has a detrimental impact on trade in the region, affecting the ability of local businesses and their dependants to prosper and grow.
Why size matters for customers and the bottom-line Maersk Line’s new 4,500 TEU vessels – the WAFMAX (West Africa Max) - carry more than twice as much cargo as other ships calling ports in West Africa. They were designed to improve Maersk Line’s service offering to customers using the Far East Asia – West Africa route and to significantly increase the efficiency of our operations.
Sonny Dahl, Line Manager for West Africa trades, explains the commercial and operational benefits: “The WAFMAX has improved both efficiency and reliability because it was custom designed to operate more efficiently in West African ports. The capacity and fuel efficiency of these vessels means we’re able to move more cargo for more customers and with fewer ships. That has helped us to improve service for customers and operate more efficiently in West Africa.”
Key benefits of WAFMAX expected by 2013
Reduced port turnaround time by up to 20% per year in Apapa and up to 12% in Tema.
Potential increase in trade flows by USD 760 million per year in Nigeria and USD 490 million in Ghana by 2013.
30% lower CO2 footprint per container moved compared to industry average.
Good for business, good for society A 2012 study conducted by Copenhagen Economics in collaboration with Maersk Line found that these vessels play a key role in overcoming the current capacity constraints in ports such as Tema in Ghana and Apapa in Nigeria.
“There are direct links between a country’s stage of development and the performance of its ports and ocean transportation system,” explains Mette Olsen, Environment and CSR manager in Maersk Line. “What we found with this study was that the WAFMAX vessels are not only a sound business investment, they also have a significant impact on improving port productivity and reducing overall transportation costs in the ports and terminals they call. In an emerging market context like Nigeria and Ghana, such improvements can be significant drivers of future growth and prosperity.”