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MNM Shipping Line opens new business frontiers for W/African market

By on May 8, 2015

MNM African Shipping Line, the first privately-owned shipping line in Africa, which recently commenced operations, has opened new business frontiers for countries in West African region by connecting them directly with new destinations.

The new shipping line, which has also appointed two subsidiaries – Sifax Shipping Nigeria Limited and Sifax Ghana Limited – as its official agents in Nigeria and Ghana, respectively, made its first call at Barcelona port last week with “Orient Spirit” vessel, and will begin a bi-weekly shipping service that will service ports in Southern Europe, Morocco and the West Coast of Africa.

Some of the ports the new shipping line, which is the only African container line, would be servicing include those of Barcelona, Sagunto, Tangier, Casablanca, Agadir, Nouakchott, Dakar, Conakry, Lagos, Tema, and Abidjan.

The establishment of MNM African Shipping Line, which is the first African owned-container carrier, has brought about the emergence of a new player in the African maritime and shipping landscape, which aims to respond to international trade in Morocco and West Africa countries.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos recently, Marcus Brickman, managing director of Sifax Group, who disclosed that the shipping line will be headquartered in Tangier, Morocco, said it would take advantage of the shipping experience of Sifax Group to grow the business across the West African Coast, particularly in Nigeria and Ghana, where it has formed a partnership with the organisation.

According to him, the vessel, which has already left Barcelona for Nigeria, is due to arrive later this week and will make Port and Cargo Handling Service terminal at the Tin-Can Island port as its destination port.

Sifax Group and the promoters of the shipping company will continue to invest in the new business and hope to attract more volume for the liner in the next two to three months time so as to break even.

Sifax Group has also perfected arrangement to offer importers and exporters business incentives such as lower cost, flexible shipping competitive rate and good transit timing for perishable by offering direct service to attract high volume in the competitive market environment, Brickman said.

“To attract trade volume that would help in growing MNM business in Nigeria and Ghana, Sifax is targeting at attracting high export volume so as to ensure that vessels that bring import do not go back empty. Therefore, we will be partnering cocoa farmers, Okoma Oil in Benin City. We will also look into partnering with exporters of sesema and cashew seeds,” said Phil Ofulue, executive director, administration, Sifax Group.

On why the Group ventured into the business of container shipping, he said Sifax had been into the business of container shipping and handling, and that the company had established strong contacts globally that would help in growing MNM business amid competition. “This is because there is still a large room and prospect for more investors to participate in shipping business all over,” he said.

The establishment of the new shipping line will eventually become an economic boost in Nigeria as we are looking at creating new employment opportunities, because it will encourage the manufacturers to go into the business of producing finished products for export, he said further.

“The terminal has been adjusted to accommodate the cargo that the ship will be coming in with and we have trained our staff to offer premium services to the ship to ensure good turnaround time of the vessel,” said Olasunkanmi Olubi, assistant manager, commercial for Sifax.

On the relationship with Sifax Group, Manal Guemmah, director of commercial and marketing, MNM African Shipping, said the appointment further validated the experience, integrity and high business rating that it enjoyed in its areas of operations.

“MNM’s market entry strategy involves forming alliances with organisations and businesses that share similar business vision and philosophy with our company. Sifax Group has distinguished itself in Nigeria’s maritime industry for about three decades. Its experience is solid while its drive for excellence and success is inspiring. We are highly privileged to enter into this partnership with Sifax Group both in Ghana and Nigeria,” he said.

On his own part, Henry Ajoh, the head shipping, Sifax Group, expressed the readiness of the company to deliver the excellent value that had become its trade mark over the years.

“This partnership with MNM will deepen our participation and contribution in facilitating international trade across Africa and Europe. We have been deploying all our resources and expertise to make the business venture a massive success. We have had extensive discussions with importers, exporters, local agents, government agencies in order to achieve all set objectives,” he said.

The vessel, Orient Spirit, is expected to make its first call in Lagos at the Terminal C of the Tin-Can Island Port on May 8, 2015.


[Business Day]