News Column

Finished Goods Exports Grow By 80 Percent in 2013

June 6, 2014

John Iwori

The export of finished goods, mainly foodstuffs grew by over 80 percent in 2013, according to a report by Maersk Nigeria Limited (MNL), an indication that local manufacturing is on the increase.

Maersk, the core liner shipping business of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, however predicted that agricultural commodities such as cocoa, charcoal, sesame seed and cotton will continue to dominate Nigeria's non-oil export in 2014.

The shipping firm said most non-oil agricultural exports out of Nigeria were loaded to Europe, followed closely by exports to the far East.

According to the report which was made available to THISDAY, provisional data revealed that Nigeria's export volumes remained small and volatile, depending on agricultural seasonality.

Volumes declined from 11,000 FFE in the second quarter of 2013 to 5,600 FFE in the third quarter. In the last quarter of the year, the export market experienced a 68 percent leap as compared to previous quarter ending the year at 35,000 FFE which is a nine per cent increase when compared with the full year 2012.

It added that high oil prices have boosted national revenues in recent years and this has contributed to some of the trade growth and also helped shore up the foreign reserves of the country in the recent past.

The report quoted the Managing Director of Maersk, Mr. Thomas Thorhauge, saying that the government has done well to keep the naira valuation in check and this is very important to provide the needed stability for trade to flourish.

On a conservative estimate, the import market is expected to grow by around eight percent in 2014, whilst exports from its relatively small base to grow a bit faster. Maersk Line was able to maintain its market leadership ending the year with market shares of 36 percent and 29 percent for import and export respectively.

The firm said the performance in Nigerian ports continues to show progress with investments in key container terminals.

"APMT Apapa initiated the final phase of their expansion plans in increasing cargo handling capabilities and yard space to avoid congestion. APMT also invested $30 million to improve the terminal capacity and efficiency of their Onne Terminal.

"This paved way for the passage of the 'Maersk Copenhagen' one of our WAFMAX class vessel which has a capacity to carry 4500 TEU to call the port in December 2013," it added.

According to the report, there is however, still need for further investments in terminal capacity as current Lagos ports are likely to be fully utilised within the next four to five years. Planned investments in port projects such as the Lekki and Badagry terminals will be essential to keep pace with Nigeria's economic growth.

Poor road infrastructure outside the terminals remains a concern and impacted flows in and out of the terminals. However, 2013 saw the resumption of rail movements to the north of the country which was encouraging and shows that potential exist for such means of alternate transport.

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Source: AllAfrica

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