CMA CGM seeks investment opportunities in Africa

WITH African nations seeing a record growth rate of 5 per cent over the past decade, French shipping giant CMA CGM has turned its focus to the continent for investment

05 July 2020 - 19:00
WITH African nations seeing a record growth rate of 5 per cent over the past decade, French shipping giant CMA CGM has turned its focus to the continent for investment.

Some of the key focuses for CMA CGM are the digital transformation in the continent, the increase in shipping traffic in Africa and transport services in the African market.

Herve Zongo, general manager Cote d'Ivoire, CMA CGM Group, said: 'Shipping traffic has picked up over the past few years in Africa, and new routes are opening up with India, the Middle East and Turkey. Europe, which used to account for 80 per cent of trade with Africa, now stands at just 15 per cent.'

With Tanger Med 2, Morocco has now broken into the world's top 20 ports, with a total capacity of 9 million TEU. Port Said in Egypt and Durban in South Africa, which handle close to 3 million TEU, both rank among the world's top 100.

West African ports are also joining the race, which include three with a million TEU-plus capacity: Lagos in Nigeria, Lome in Togo, and Tema in Ghana.

In September 2019 CMA Terminals was awarded a 45-year contract to manage the new port facility at the deepwater port at Lekki, Nigeria. Lekki is scheduled to enter service in 2022 and will ultimately have a total capacity of 2.5 million TEU, reports Port Technology International, London.

With a depth of 16 metres, it will be able to accommodate vessels with a capacity of up to 18,000 TEU and thereby ease congestion at existing facilities serving Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can) from which trucks face a journey of several days to reach the ports.

In addition, CMA CGM Inland Services (CCIS) is to open up three new hubs in Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. The hubs will aim to reduce the cost of export for local producers.

According to Pascal Hirn, vice president Africa Lines CMA CGM, 'logistics is one of the key factors that will help to step up and secure the continent's future development. Investing in deepwater terminals alone is not enough. That needs to be supported by a genuine strategy within the continent.'

The strategy will see positions on trade corridors between the main port hubs and inland areas established. At the same time developing an extensive and integrated range of logistics services.

That is why the Group, via its CEVA Logistics subsidiary, recently acquired AMI Worldwide, a major force in logistics in East and Southern Africa, explained the company.

Progress in the African economy has been made obvious by its digital transformation. During the 1990s, the penetration rate of fixed-line telephony was just 2 per cent, whereas by 2025, the proportion of sub-Saharan African population with smartphone internet access is forecast to reach 40 per cent.

At CMA CGM, the covid-19 crisis led to an acceleration in the digitalisation of its agencies.

'We kept our business running with 70 per cent of our employees working from home,' explains Alain Aurousseau, Commercial & Agency Network, North & West Africa, CMA CGM Group. The agencies in Nigeria and Cameroon have even started to issue their first fully digitalised - and thus completely paperless - bills of lading, according to CMA CGM.

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