December 11, 2017: Aiming to get more perishables to market with less spoilage, multi-national terminal operator, APM Terminals Inland Services has launched improved refrigerated truck transport in Nigeria. APM Terminals joined hands with Naija Pride and sought assistance of international development groups to provide modern cold chain transportation for farmers in the agricultural centers of northern Nigeria.

It is estimated that 15 million metric tonnes of Nigerian-grown perishable goods, including onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, okra, ginger and carrots, are lost annually due to poor logistics infrastructure before it reaches the market centers in Lagos. The new cold chain solution in transportation will 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 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, APM Terminals Apapa.

As much as half of Nigeria’s domestic tomato crop of 1.8 million metric tonnes does not get to market due to spoilage or damage during transportation while packed in traditional woven raffia baskets and moved by conventional trucking. On December 1, the first trial shipment of 18.6 metric tonnes 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 temperature-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.

APM Terminals partnered with Naija Pride for the tomato shipment, in cooperation with US-based TechnoServe, an international non-profit organisation.

Naija Pride is owned by Emmanuel Ijewere, the 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.

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