APM Terminals has been expertly operating advanced ports and container terminals for over half a century. We speak to CEO, Frederik Klinke, about the company’s vital work and its goal of lifting global trade.
The container terminal industry is modernising and upgrading rapidly across Africa, especially in the west, as fresh development continues to engulf the numerous ports scattered throughout the continent’s cluster of sweeping coastlines.
In the early 2000s, public-private partnerships (PPP) transformed and improved the capacity of these ports throughout Africa. Now, terminals across the western region are upgrading to handle large container vessels with capacities of 14,000 TEU or more. This is a vital step forward to ensure the economic development of the continent is followed by the equivalent growth of its burgeoning ports industry.
As part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish shipping and logistics company, APM Terminals has been lifting standards for developing and operating advanced ports and container terminals for over half a century, and more recently as an independent division since January 2001.
Now, with facilities in 65 key locations around the globe and several more in development, APM Terminals is lifting the standard of efficiency, responsibility, connectivity, and digital integration across the industry.
Part of this extensive global network, APM Terminals Nigeria operates container terminals in Apapa port (Lagos) and Onne, Rivers State, as well as a container depot in Kano. Between the three facilities, APM Terminals Nigeria both directly and indirectly employs about 2,500 staff members, 99 percent of whom are Nigerian.
“Our role in the supply chain is to receive and deliver containers between sea and land. We operate container vessels for the majority of the world’s leading container lines as our primary clients,” introduces Frederik Klinke, CEO of APM Terminals Nigeria.
“It’s equally important that we facilitate the delivery and reception of import and export containers, whilst also providing other services for a large number of landside customers or shippers,” he continues.
Having spent time in the shipping and logistics divisions of the Maersk business, Frederik had the opportunity in 2010 to take up a role with APM Terminals in a newbuild transshipment terminal in Tangier, Morocco, providing a great introduction to the industry as it featured a great combination of local market and global network integration.
BECOMING THE WORLD’S BEST
It is the unwavering ambition of APM Terminals to be the world’s best terminal company, and the overarching plan is to achieve this by constantly improving the client and customer experience at each of its 65 key locations around the globe, including Nigeria.
“We serve shipping line and landside customers, seamlessly integrating land and sea to ensure supply chains are safe and undisrupted,” states Frederik.
With the safety of its people setting the foundation of the way the company conducts all business, APM Terminals Nigeria is continuously developing new products and services that add value for its customers. This is alongside applying leaner thinking and operational excellence to raise overall standards of efficiency.
“Our engaged and empowered workforce elevates standards of proactivity by anticipating and adapting to customer needs. We are inspired by our core values of uprightness and constant care to elevate standards of reliability,” he elaborates.
“Powered by new technologies, we harness the potential of digitalisation to lift the standard of connectivity and communication in co-creation with our customers, shaping the future of port and terminal logistics to drive growth.”
APM Terminals Nigeria takes pride in its strong connection with local communities where it operates, and the role it plays in connecting domestic production with the global marketplace to improve local living standards. Similarly, the company aims to enhance connectivity with intermodal solutions to ease the flow in logistics chains.
This focus on lifting standards extends to the sustainability of APM Terminals Nigeria and its operations, as the company remains firmly committed to becoming net zero by 2040. To achieve this milestone, APM Terminals Nigeria has defined a pathway to decarbonisation made possible by energy optimisation, electrification, and the increased use of renewable energy.
“Together, we can make the future of global trade more sustainable,” Frederik declares confidently.
APM TERMINALS NIGERIA
Safe and Reliable
Developing talent is an intrinsic part of APM Terminals Nigeria’s strategy, and this commitment to evolving its people and processes continues to define the company’s ambitious growth strategy as it heads into an exciting future.
“We have trained a large number of Nigerians to become supervisors, managers and executives in our industry. Over the course of 17 years, we have operated extensively in Nigeria, reducing the number of expats required to run our operations from close to 100 to less than 20,” describes Frederik.
Operating out of its own technical training facility in Lagos, APM Terminals Nigeria provides practical and theoretical training to hundreds of employees. These enhanced processes range from crane operations to the mastery of advanced learning tools and nurturing future leadership development.
All APM Terminals Nigeria employees have a development plan that aims to achieve their ambitions, and outlines how the company can help to facilitate their goals in support of its own business objectives and strategy. This includes training and education, but also assignments abroad and exchange programmes with other terminals in the group.
“We believe in recognising great achievements and behaviour from all employees, and have created various awards for contributions within safety and continuous improvement,” he adds enthusiastically.
Across the board, APM Terminals strives to constantly improve the overall customer experience of doing business with the company.
“Our strategy is centred around improving efficiency for our customers by reducing the time that either their vessels or their cargo spend in the terminals. We invest heavily in infrastructure and equipment, as well as the training of our staff to achieve this,” Frederik affirms.
As part of this investment in infrastructure, APM Terminals Nigeria is concluding a USD$115 million upgrade of the Onne port terminal with a new yard, a new fleet of handling equipment (five mobile harbour cranes for quayside operations and 20 rubber tire gantry cranes for yard handling), and new workshop and admin buildings.
The upgrade project has been ongoing for the last couple of years and is being completed this summer. The upgrade has doubled the handling capacity in the Onne port, and will allow the terminal to better service the growing East Nigerian market in the coming years.
In direct correlation to these gradual upgrades, Frederik tells us that APM Terminals Nigeria now offers its customers a reliable and stable service that they can count on.
“We have the necessary extra capacity and operational procedures in place to cater for any swings in volume. The Nigerian market is very volatile and in the past, rapid increases in trade have repeatedly caused heavy congestion in the main ports of the country.”
The company is now ready to adapt and adjust to anything, and with this focus on agility, will continue to thrive and succeed in the West African ports sector.