Nigeria’s leading terminal operators, APM Terminals in Apapa and the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) in Onne, have jointly committed more than N300 million to the battle against the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
APM Terminals has contributed N150 million into the federal government’s COVID-19 Relief Fund Account created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while WACT gave N50 million.
APM Terminals also donated 1,000 units of nose masks; 500 disposable protective coveralls; 400 litres of hand sanitisers; protective goggles and hand gloves to Lagos Port Complex of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) towards curtailing the pandemic.
The donations came barely two weeks after the company donated $200,000 (over N75 million) into the United Nations Basket Fund for the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria and committed another N25 million to community awareness through radio, social media as well as fliers to sensitise the Apapa community on how to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Speaking on the donations, the Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr. Martin Jacob, said: “This is one battle we must join hands together to fight and with the strong leadership being provided by the federal government, Nigeria will overcome these difficult times.”
Jacob said the items donated were aimed at preventing the spread of the virus at the port, since “there is currently no vaccine to prevent it.”
“The only option available to us all at this trying time is prevention. The responsibility lies on all of us to protect ourselves and render all possible assistance within available resources. The basic precautionary measures to take such as not touching our eyes, nose, or mouth; regular washing of hands with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser; maintaining social distancing and avoiding large gatherings must be respected by all, including ports, where we provide essential services,” Jacob said.
The General Manager, External Relations of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr. Daniel Odibe, who handed over the nose masks and other items to the Port Manager of Lagos Port Complex Apapa, Mrs. Funmilayo Olotu, called for cooperation to curtail the spread of the virus.
“As a responsible corporate citizen of Nigeria, APM Terminals has complied with the directive of the federal government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to maintain continuity in port operation.
“In line with the directive, our terminal is in full operation. We have also adopted stringent safety measures in line with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Port Health Services to ensure that the supply chain remains uninterrupted and availability of essential supplies is maintained in the face of the pandemic,” he said.
Olotu, who received the items in company with other top NPA officials attached to the port, thanked APM Terminals for the donation.
APM Terminals recently launched its COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan in line with the presidential directive to keep Nigerian seaports open.
The terminal has remained fully operational. However, to reduce the risks of possible exposure to COVID-19, staff on non-essential services have been directed to work from home.
Internally, several measures have been implemented to safeguard the health and lives of APM Terminals employees. These include the provision of handwash stations and hand sanitisers. Temperature checks and hand washing are compulsory when entering the terminal.
Other measures instituted by the terminal operator include continuous employee engagement/enlightenment; limiting the number of people in the terminal shuttle to one person per row; while at the staff canteen, employees queuing for meals must observe a spacing of one metre apart.
Also, only one customer at a time is allowed at the customer service counter; a maximum of 20 customs agents at a time allowed within the waiting area and one seat spacing between customers waiting to be attended to. The firm has also ensured that only customers for terminal delivery order (TDO), exit and booking access are allowed to the customer service agent waiting area, while others have been directed to send an email and make use of online platforms.
In addition, computers have been provided to enable customers access Termview while at customer service. Customers have also been notified to access Termview from their various offices or via phone.
Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) including 95 nose masks and disposable clinical hand gloves have been provided to identified groups of employees, while the company has ensured continuous decontamination/disinfection of all office spaces and equipment.
APM Terminals, which operates one of the world’s most comprehensive port networks, is positioned to help both shipping lines and landside customers grow their business and achieve better supply chain efficiency, flexibility and dependability.
APM Terminals’ team of 22,000 industry professionals operates a network of 78 terminals globally.
This equates to handling around 250 vessel calls per day and 40 million TEUs per year.
Part of A.P.Moller-Maersk, APM Terminals leverage more than a century of industry experience to design and build high-quality container terminals and provide port and inland services for cargo handling and transportation between port facilities and inland locations.
APM Terminals Apapa was awarded the concession in 2006 to manage, operate and develop the Apapa container terminal at Lagos Port Complex after the federal government concessioned Nigerian ports in a bid to improve port services through private investment and expertise.
The 55-hectare facility concessioned to APM Terminals has 1005m quay length, 13.5m draft alongside with an annual handling capacity of 1.2million TEU.
APM Terminals Apapa has, since the commencement of operation, contributed positively to the growth of the Nigerian economy through the generation of economic activity and channeled almost half of its turnover back to its host societies.
An analysis of APM Terminals Apapa financials from 2013–2016 shows that 50 per cent of its turnover was funneled back to the Nigerian economy through employees, suppliers, financiers, and tax payments.
This means that APM Terminals has created a significant impact on trade, jobs, and GDP in Nigeria, due to its contribution in improving Nigeria’s connectivity to global trade.
So far, APM Terminals Apapa has invested $500 million in infrastructure, information technology upgrades and modern handling equipment to improve both quayside and landside operations.
APM Terminals has also transformed the Apapa container terminal into a modern and efficient terminal, resulting in more capacity for trade and higher vessel productivity.
Shipping lines get consistent quayside productivity along with guaranteed timely operations through berthing window schemes. This has made shipping lines deploy bigger vessels (e.g. WAFMAX vessels) and increase service frequency to Apapa, seizing opportunities from international trade. The economy of scale enabled shipping lines offer Nigeria’s trade competitive rates, thereby increasing Nigeria’s foreign trade, both in terms of volume and value, helping to boost Nigeria’s GDP and employment.
The company is set to boost its operations further with the acquisition of additional container handling equipment, which would be deployed before the end of this month.