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Rising promise of Africa’s most-populous nation

Nigeria’s air freight imports totalled more than 90,000 tonnes in 2012, while exports were 20,000 tonnes, an overall increase of more than 16% on 2011, according to Norbert Bielderman, COO of Nigerian Aviation Handling Co (Nahco Aviance).And with GDP growth avarage more than 6% in the last 5 years, Africa's most-populous nation undoubtedly holds tremendous future potential.on undoubtedly holds tremendous future potential.

Nahco handles around 75% of Nigerian air freight, principally at Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, and picked up new cargo contracts last year from Singapore Cargo and Kenya Airlines/Martinair. Majority state-owned until 2005, Nahco is now a public company. The Nigerian handling market has gradually opened to competition and four companies are currently licensed, Bielderman explains: Nahco, Skyway (SAHCOL), PAHCOL, and Swissport – which is not yet active in cargo handling. Nahco is the only ground handling company in West Africa to have achieved IATA’s ISAGO safety accreditation. Following recent investment of US$17 million at Lagos, the company has created what Bielderman claims is the largest facility of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. “Apart from expanding the warehouse, we invested in large cold room and freezer facilities in both import and export, dedicated dangerous goods facilities, an IATA-certified vault and a semi-automated handling system. Full CCTV has been put in place, and we upgraded our IT,” he says. He admits that West Africa is “not yet where it should be” in terms of airport infrastructure, customs facilitation and security procedures. Lagos International, for example, has only one international and one domestic runway, the latter limited to daytime operation due to lack of lighting. More private participation in airport development and management is needed, Bielderman says. Nahco is playing its part by expanding its cargo handling operations outside Nigeria for the first time. He expects to be up and running in two more West African countries by mid-year.

Source: CAAV

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