APM Terminals launches refrigerated truck transport for perishables agric produces
by Uzoamaka Anagor-Ewuzie
December 13, 2017 | 12:58 am| | | Start Conversation
APM Terminals Inland Services, in conjunction with Naija Pride and other international development groups, has perfected plans to provide modern cold chain transportation alternatives for farmers in the agricultural centers of northern Nigeria to bring fresh produce intact and unspoiled to market centers in Lagos.
Statistics has shown that an estimated 15 million metric tons of Nigerian-grown perishable goods including onions, potatoes, tomatoes, pepper, okra, ginger and carrots, are lost annually due to poor logistics infrastructure and high transportation costs through spoilage and product damage.
For instance, half of Nigeria’s domestic tomato crop of 1.8 million metric tons does not get to market due to spoilage or damage during transportation while packed in traditional woven raffia baskets and moved using conventional trucking system that spends days or weeks before getting to centres like Lagos.
Therefore, the ongoing investments in cold chain transportation by APM Terminals, is geared towards finding ways to reduce post-harvest losses and extend the shelf life of fresh produce to local consumption and export.
“New investment in cold chain infrastructure will clearly be an important growth driver for the Nigerian economy. We, along with our partners, aim to offer our landside customers both the service and expertise necessary to protect perishables for domestic markets and open new international market opportunities through Nigerian ports,” said Martin Jacob, managing director of APM Terminals Apapa.
According to him, on December 1st, the first trial shipment of 18.6 metric tons of fresh tomatoes, packed into 933 crates each containing 20 kg, were loaded into a refrigerated container for the 1,045 km (650 mile) trip from Dutsen Wai, in Nigeria’s Kaduna State to Lagos.
“In the controlled reefer environment, heat spoilage as well as bruising damage from cargo shifting during transport was eliminated – and the entire truckload arrived intact and ready for sale or further transport.”
Recall that APM Terminals partnered with Naija Pride for the tomato shipment, in cooperation with US-based TechnoServe, an international non-profit organisation that promotes business solutions in 29 countries.
Naija Pride is owned by Emmanuel Ijewere, vice chairman of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) which is co-chaired by Sani Dangote, Dangote Group’s Vice chairman.
The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)- funded Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4) program, and the US-based Rockefeller Foundation-funded Yieldwise project were also on-site in Dutsen Wai as observers, providing advice on cold chain supply opportunities that benefit the Nigerian agricultural industry and end-user customers.
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