The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) has invested in a new container freight station (CFS) at the Port of Onne, Nigeria.
The 1,520m2 facility - the first of its kind in East Nigeria - provides Nigerian farmers with an opportunity to grow their business by exporting goods such as cashew nuts and sesame seeds.
While the country has long been associated with the oil industry, it is estimated that more than 22% of the country's GDP is generated from agriculture. "A government drive to encourage exports, particularly of agricultural raw materials, has already created a steady increase in demand for the facility, which is equipped to modern safety and security standards," says WACT Commercial Manager, Noah Sheriff.
“The CFS was the result of inquiries by customers and shipping lines,” explains Sheriff. “It now provides customers with a 'one-stop-shop' experience that provides storage, stuffing, customs clearance and container weighing services under one roof. This reduces costs and waiting times for trucks coming to the terminal, as empty pickups and full export returns are reduced."
The new facility can process 16 TEUs per day, during a two-shift operation. Seven staff are on duty and two forklift trucks are in place to assist with offloading and stuffing. Local farmers are most likely to benefit most from the new facility. “In the past, due to delays, there were instances where export containers arrived too late for vessels,” says Sheriff.
Logistics costs are reduced because the cargo is delivered directly to the CFS, located within the terminal. This saves the cost of hiring trucks to pick up empties and to deliver export full containers to the terminal.
Previously, the complexity of stuffing containers for export forced most farmers to sell their produce to consolidators locally. This ate into their profit margins. This service is now provided directly to farmers at the CFS.
For the few farmers that were able to export, the only option previously was a CFS located outside the port. They delivered their cargo there and then hired a truck to collect empty containers from the port, arranged for customs and other inspection agencies to visit the CFS, stuffed the containers outside the port and delivered them back to the port as full export containers.
Sequencing these activities was cumbersome and created a complex logistics challenges for the farmers. With the new CFS, they can simply deliver their cargo directly to the terminal and all other activities are completed for them.
This increased focus on agriculture will help Nigeria to increase its sources of foreign exchange revenue, improve its balance of trade by exporting raw materials, and create employment opportunities.