Shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has opened a new office in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. It is its 6th representation in Africa, following branches in Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. “Senegal has shown impressive economic growth in recent years, and it has abundant natural resources,” emphasizes Dheeraj Bhatia, Senior Managing Director Region Middle East at Hapag-Lloyd.
Currently, the West African country is connected to the intercontinental Hapag-Lloyd network by a weekly operated Dakar Express Service (DEX), with transshipments taking place in Tangier,
Morocco. Thanks to Hapag-Lloyd’s acquisition of NileDutch, a container carrier specialized in the West African market, the number of sailings is expected to go up. The estimate is based on market
studies predicting strong economic growth for countries located in western Africa, including Senegal.
Very competitive position
NileDutch’s acquisition, which became legally binding in JUL21, “immediately puts us in a very competitive position in South and West Africa,” states Dheeraj Bhatia, Senior Managing Director Middle East and Africa at Hapag-Lloyd.
Based in Rotterdam, NileDutch operates 12 container vessels, offering a total capacity of 35,000 TEU.
As far as the products to be shipped are concerned, the Hamburg, Germany-based liner speaks of exports consisting mainly of nuts, fish, cotton, and minerals, while chemicals, foodstuffs, and garments dominate imports into Senegal.
It can be assumed that the Dakar office will also strengthen Tangier’s position as a transshipment port for Hapag-Lloyd goods fed into its global network, coming from West Africa, or destined to Nigeria, Senegal, or Togo.
Economy is recovering
Although Senegal continues to be one of the poorer countries in the world (the per capita income is equivalent to €1,250 a year, compared to €1,900 in Ghana and €2,300 in Nigeria), Senegal’s annual growth rate averaged 6.9% from 2014 to 2019, when it dropped due to the covid pandemic. However, thanks to investment in the infrastructure and increased industrial and agricultural production, the economy is back on track meanwhile, despite the pandemic. A further increase is expected owing to the launch of oil and gas production. Simultaneously, the construction sector is booming, especially in the greater Dakar metropolitan region.
In addition to the seaport, the Blaise-Diagne International airport, completed in 2017, is the country’s lifeline to the world, and a cornerstone for transportation, trade, and tourism. It offers the cargo industry 7,600 m² of ground handling capacity, allowing for an annual throughput of 50,000 metric tons.
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