Charcoal, as well as agricultural products such as cocoa, sesame, cashew nuts and cotton, dominated the list of containerized commodities exported from Nigeria in the first half of this year, a trade report released by Maersk Nigeria Limited has revealed.
According to the report, charcoal export out of Nigeria rose by 76 per cent as at May 2013, when compared to the same period in 2012. The rise in volume has been attributed to the longer winter season experienced in Europe.
Finished produce export in May 2013 experienced a 39 per cent year on year growth due to major manufacturing firms streamlining their production activities by making Nigeria their main production hub for the region. However, the finished produce export share still remains low from Nigeria, said Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria Limited (MNL) and Head of the Central West Africa Cluster, Mr. Jan Thorhauge.
Thorhauge said as of May 2013, the containerised import market to Nigeria is estimated to have ended at approximately 159,000 FFE (forty foot equivalent units) as compared with the same period in 2012 which produced an estimated volume of 155,000 FFE representing a relatively marginal year on year growth of around 2 per cent.
He also said the Eastern Nigerian market maintained its superior performance over the Western part of the country in terms of growth in volume ratio with a year on year growth ratio of 10 per cent on import and one per cent on export.
He explained that Maersk Line has maintained its position as the leading shipping line into Nigeria, and combined with its sister company Safmarine, commanded an estimated 37 per cent share of the import market and 28 per cent on the export market.
“Not much has changed as the containerised market in Nigeria continues to be strongly dominated by imports, and for the last six years, the import/export ratio has remained at around 92 per cent import versus 8 percent export”, he said.
He disclosed that most of the country’s containerised cargoes come from the Far East, mostly China, while for most of its export commodities have been going into Europe.
“The sourcing patterns have not changed fundamentally in the last six years though imports from Europe and Middle East has experienced significant increase in the last two years”, he added.
Major products coming from the Middle East are industrial raw materials, chemicals, electronics, iron and steel and tyres while from Europe, Major products include industrial raw materials, frozen fish and cars.
The increased sourcing pattern can be attributed to better pricing from these regions, increase in the age limits of imported automobiles from 5 years to 10 years, increased construction as well as growing demands for finished products by the Nigerian populace.
He further said Nigeria’s export ratio can be improved if the government is able to improve on infrastructures such as power supply, road network and rail services.
The dominant items imported into the country, according to the report, have remained the same over the past six years and are made up of traditional commodities including cars, electronics, construction materials, food items, chemicals, electrical fittings, machinery and paper.
The report added that the imports cover goods for industrial as well as private needs in the country.