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Togo’s Lome Port Overtakes Apapa Wharf As West Africa’s Leading Container Port

Apapa Port, Lagos, Nigeria for long had the reputation as West Africa’s leading and busiest container port.

However, that reputation currently belongs to Togo’s  Lome port.
According to data from Dynamar, a Dutch maritime intelligence and consulting firm, this is largely as a result of implemented reforms, container traffic at the port of Lome. The port’s earnings has grown more than three-fold since 2013.

In contrast, things have stagnated at Nigeria largest port in Apapa, Lagos. The Apapa port has been plagued by a combination of decades of inefficiency and red-tape leaving room for corruption to thrive. Indeed, it is often far easier to pay intermediaries (sometimes in cahoots with customs officials) to clear goods at the port than to go through official processes.

The bottlenecks at the Apapa port caused slow port operations this often resulted in perpetual congestion.

Sadly, the inefficiency at the Apapa port is coming at a significant price as container traffic to the port has dipped nearly 30% in the past five years, according to Dynamar.

Nigeria’s loss has proven to be Togo’s gain as the small West African nation doubles down on reform and investment plans to transform itself into a pivotal transit hub in the Gulf of Guinea.

In the past, the congestion in the Apapa port has been largely contained around the area in the past. However, its effects has now spilled over and cause a major strain on residents across Lagos.

Unable to access the congested port, 40-foot container trucks are backed up as far back as 10 kilometers in queues resulting in snaking lines across several commuter highways and bridges.

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