Liberia: APM Terminals Launches New Rice Discharge Equipment to Speedup Rice Import at Freeport of Monrovia
MONROVIA – Discharging rice vessels at the Freeport of Monrovia has traditionally been executed through legacy processes and equipment and has not achieved an optimal level of performance.
This situation is now a thing of the past as APM Terminals Liberia has launched new rice discharge equipment and process intended to fast track the offloading of rice vessels.
At a stakeholder observation ceremony led by the Acting Minister of State and leaders of government, the company demonstrated this new method, General Cargo Business Partner at APM Terminals Liberia, Christian Bodio Freeman threw more light on this new development.
“The process involves the use of a 20 tons spreader designed to lift 6 jumbo bags that is 50x25kg bags of rice/25x50kgs. The process starts with the loading of 6 jumbo bags in the hatch of the vessel and the bags are hooked unto the spreader. The spreader lift and position on the chassis of the truck”
On the importance of this new process for customers and the ease of doing business at the Port, Mr. Freeman continued; “The benefits to business are enormous but the key benefit is the fast turnaround of vessel which reduces the turnaround time of vessels.”
Before this new process, rice was discharged off vessels using a sling which could only contain 2.5 metric tons of rice in a single lift. This new process makes use of a 20 ton Spreader and will deliver 7.5 metric tons in a single lift improving turnaround time for customers. Additionally, this will increase productivity and make cargo operations much more safer. Finally, the use of these equipment and processes employs higher levels of Stevedores, increasing employment for Liberians at the Freeport.
Rice importer Mr. Abdul Aziz Ezzeddine, Operations Manager of Supply West Africa Trade (SWAT) who has been doing business at the Port shared his thoughts on this development.
“It is exciting to see APM Terminals Liberia beef up its equipment to be able to offload rice vessels at a faster turnaround rate. Of course, that brings relief to us as importers because it allows us to get our goods safer and faster onto the market” said Mr. Ezzeddine
Annual rice throughput volume analysis of import at the Freeport shows that rice importation increased by 3% in 2022 compared to 2021, this after a large jump in volumes in 2021. This underscores the importance of rice as a major import item hence APM Terminal Liberia’s strategic move to invest in new equipment to facilitate its speedy discharge at the Port.
With rice being Liberia’s staple food, this new development will ultimately impact the economy and livelihoods of all Liberians.