CMA CGM taps into Africa’s economic advancement

Tanger MED

With African nations seeing a record growth rate of 5% over the past decade 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.

“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% of trade with Africa, now stands at just 15%,” says Hervé Zongo, General Manager Côte d’Ivoire, CMA CGM Group.

With Tanger Med 2 (pictured), Morocco has now broken into the world’s top 20 ports, with a total capacity of 9 million TEUs. Port Said in Egypt and Durban in South Africa, which handle close to 3 million TEUs, 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, Lomé in Togo, and Tema in Ghana.

In September 2019 CMA Terminals 2019 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 TEUs.

With a depth of 16 meters, it will be able to accommodate vessels with a capacity of up to 18,000 TEUs 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%, whereas by 2025, the proportion of sub-Saharan African population with smartphone internet access is forecast to reach 40%.

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

“We kept our business running with 70% 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 digitalized—and thus completely paperless—bills of lading, according to CMA CGM.

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