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West Africa is down, but not out from Ebola given its resilient box volumes

CONTAINER volumes in and out of West Africa are still strong and are expected to stay that way despite a 30 per cent drop in exports after being hit the hardest by the outbreak of the Ebola virus. 

West Africa is down, but not out from Ebola given its resilient box volumes
26 November 2014 - 23:33

West Africa is down, but not out from Ebola given its resilient box volumes

CONTAINER volumes in and out of West Africa are still strong and are expected to stay that way despite a 30 per cent drop in exports after being hit the hardest by the outbreak of the Ebola virus. 

The Ebola outbreak led to the International Monetary Fund to reduce its projection from 5.5 per cent growth to five per cent for 2014.

First nine-month container volumes from Asia to West Africa are up 5.4 per cent year on year and terminals are expanding and modernising to cope with the growing volumes, notes London's Drewry Maritime Research.

"It is this trend that keeps carriers, while alert to the Ebola crisis, resolutely committed to the region," Drewry said in its latest edition of Container Insight Weekly.

Bollores Togo Terminal in Lome is being expanded from 300,000 to 1.2 million TEU capacity. Ghana's port of Tema is slated to begin a $1.5 billion expansion that will bring its capacity to 3.5 million TEU, reports Newark's Journal of Commerce.

Apart from major expansions planned from Abidjan and Congo's (DRC) Pointe Noire. CMA CGM is injecting US$300 million into its Lekki terminal in Nigeria to bring the terminal's capacity to 2.5 million TEU as Maersk's APM Terminals is adding two berths to its Badagry in that country adding another million TEU capacity. 

DP World is also adding to the Port du Futur in Senegal, an add-on to the country's port at Dakar, which will have a capacity of 1.5 million TEU upon completion.

Containership capacity jumped 250 per cent in the past five years in the Asia to West Africa trade and is expected to keep growing, said Alphaliner.

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